GREENFIELD — It took the help of many community members to make the “Reading with Riley” statue, unveiled one year ago, a reality.
Last week, city leaders placed a monument to the community’s generosity near the bronze representation of James Whitcomb Riley sitting on a bench in front of the James Whitcomb Riley Boyhood Home and Museum. Greenfield Granite cut the stone and engraved the names of donors, while Inman’s Towing brought the heavy stones to their final location near the statue.
A 2016 Bicentennial Legacy Project, the statue served as a double celebration — of the bicentennial of Indiana’s statehood and the 100th year since the Hoosier poet’s death.
Artist Bill Wolfe of Terre Haute used one of the iron benches that sits in front of the Riley Home as a basis for his statue, which features a seated Riley with an open book in his left hand and his right arm draped casually across the back — as if he has stepped out of his Greenfield home and sat down to read.
The “Reading with Riley” statue, which cost about $42,000, was sculpted by Wolfe, first out of clay and then later cast in bronze at the Sincerus Foundry in Indianapolis.
Wolfe, a sculptor and painter, studied art at Indiana State University and has art featured across the country, according to his website. He now focuses on life-size monuments.