Something old, and yet something new is on display at Bronson Park in downtown Kalamazoo.

The bronze children sculptures that were in the now gone reflection pools, are now back on display at Bronson Park. They are in, along South Street in the middle part of the park.

Bronson Park, Kalamazoo. (Photo: Dave Benson, TSM)

WWMT reports these sculptures and the reflecting pools were removed in 2018, as part of a controversial vote by the Kalamazoo City Commission to remove the Fountain of the Pioneers. Lawn panels have been installed where the pools were.

The sculptures were created by the late Kirk Newman, who died a few months before the City Commission's vote.

WWMT says Newman's design of Kalamazoo children is titled “When Justice and Mercy Prevail, Children May Safely Play. The story says Newman created the sculptures to commemorate the United States bicentennial in 1976. It was dedicated on July 4, 1976, the actual date of the bi-centennial.

Bronson Park, Kalamazoo. (Photo: Dave Benson, TSM)

According to his website,

The reflecting pool, part of the original Ianelli design, was adorned with bronze sculptures of Kalamazoo children to commemorate the United States bicentennial in 1976. “When justice and mercy prevail, children may safely play” is a biblical verse that Kirk used as his inspiration for the sculptures. -

His website says Newman arrived in Kalamazoo in 1949 "to begin work at the KIA as part of the University of Michigan's extension program. Believing that community art programs could be as stimulating and rewarding as those offered at the college level, he recruited a dedicated group of professionals to help develop the art school."

Newman's reputation was created largely from 2 bodies of work: small bronze figures and large public pieces presenting a more traditional approach to the figure, which can be found in Toronto, Hong Kong, and throughout Michigan. -

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