Sunday, November 13, 2016

HIbbing Dylan Project Gathering Momentum

First sign that the hometown boy was makin' it in the Big City. 
Bob Dylan's Nobel Prize has energized Northland Dylan fans who have long celebrated their Native Son by various means. When Hibbing Dylan Days stepped back after the closure of Zimmy's, the Duluth Dylan Fest committee and the Armory Arts and Music Center lifted up the banner. The October announcement from Sweden created renewed enthusiasm to do more in Hibbing where the acclaimed Nobel Laureate came of age.

Tuesday evening I received a press release from a newly formed group called The Hibbing Dylan Project which states that in partnership with the Hibbing Arts Council a Nobel Prize Reception will be held in Hibbing's historic Androy Hotel. The event, a reception and fundraiser designed to honor Dylan, will take place on December 10. That same evening, the Nobel Prize Committee will be officially awarding the Northland native the Nobel Prize in Literature “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

According to the media release, "the purpose of this fundraiser is to secure funds to create a statue that will stand in front of Hibbing High School. The statue will honor Bob Dylan for the unique artist that he is and celebrate his status as a Hibbing High School alumnus."

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Here are additional details from the announcement:

Retired history teacher and organizer Craig Hattam said, “Bob Dylan is well known around the world, and now he has been awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature. His musical career has spanned over five decades and before that he was a student here, in this high school. It’s incredible. It’s inspiring. And I feel that we should recognize him for the historical impact he has had around the globe and in our community.”

The cocktail and hors d’oeuvres event on will begin at 5 pm and will feature local artists covering Bob Dylan’s songs. The fully tax-deductible tickets are $25 and will go on sale on Tuesday, November 8, 2016, at the American Bank, Custom Lettering, {moxie}, and Security State Bank, all located in downtown Hibbing. Will Call tickets are also available and can be reserved by sending payment to The Hibbing Arts Council, PO Box 575, Hibbing, MN 55746. Please note “The Hibbing Dylan Project” in the memo.

To keep up-to-date with The Hibbing Dylan Project events and discussions, join the group Hibbing Dylan Project on Facebook.

For more information about The Hibbing Dylan Project, please contact Craig Hattam at

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My Two Cents
I don't know whether an artist has been selected yet but I'd like to note that an important aspect of a project of this nature is the artist one chooses. For example, several years ago Celeron, New York, hometown of Lucille Ball, honored its Native Daughter with a statue in the park. Unfortunately, the statue was so hideous that it earned the nickname "Scary Lucy." Fortunately, in August of this year a new Lucy statue was installed which was significantly superior as a reproduction of the popular star, as you can see here.

In other words, let's be sure that if we produce a monument that it really does honor our hometown boy.

The second point I wish to add here is not a point per se. If you've been through the Duluth International Airport / U.S. Representative James L. Oberstar Terminal, you will have likely noticed two very impressive statues on the upstairs landing in the lobby area outside the TSA checkpoint. In 2015 the statue of former Viet Nam War P.O.W. David Wheat was added to accompany the existing statue of Joseph Gomer, last of the famed Tuskegee Airmen of WW2.

Both statues are exceedingly impressive. In addition, both were produced by a local artisan of exceptional caliber, Timothy Cleary. Cleary teaches sculpture at UWS, and should the committee desire workmanship worthy of its subject matter, I suggest starting here.*

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May the wind muss your hair, and the sun ever shine on the Northland. Meantime, mark your calendar if you're thinking of attending the Hibbing event December 10.

* EdNote: The author of this blog post has not been in contact with Mr. Cleary and does not have a clue as whether he has time or interest. What I do know is his workmanship is remarkable, that he may be a useful resource for decision making on the technical aspects of the project, and that we most certainly do not want a statue that will be nicknamed "Scary Bob."

1 comment:

OldBobFan said...

Thanks for the update, Ed. Glad to be connected. The Facebook link to the Hibbing Dylan Project is a great way to keep up on this, as well as, of course, your blog. Happy Thanksgiving to all!