The small North Bay city of San Anselmo recently welcomed two new members to its community thanks to the generosity of resident George Lucas and artistry of Academy of Art University Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble. Coordinated by Connie Rodgers of the San Anselmo Park Fund (see our previous story here), life-size bronze statues of Yoda and Indiana Jones –characters from Lucas’ Star Wars and Indiana Jones film series – were officially unveiled in a dedication ceremony for a new park in the city’s picturesque downtown district. Imagination Park, which occupies land donated by Lucas, is the new jewel of San Anselmo Avenue, thanks to a tranquil green space and centerpiece fountain topped with Noble’s stunning bronze figures.
George Lucas and FASCU Chair Lawrence Noble at Imagination Park dedication (Photo by Pete Vilmur)
“I am pleased as well as honored to have had the opportunity to have sculpted these two American icons and to witness their investment as bronze sculptures into our culture,” says Noble. “As the entire Star Wars Saga was created by George Lucas in San Anselmo, it is both fitting and proper as well as the perfect place for a park in their honor.”
While the park represents the third public installation for the Yoda bronze – the other two occupy Lucasfilm’s Presidio campus and Lucas’ Big Rock Ranch – this is the first and only public display of Noble’s Indiana Jones life-size bronze, which was delivered to Lucas back in 2009. Like the Lost Ark of the Covenant, the bronze was stored in Lucas’ vast archives building until the fateful day when it would be revealed and displayed for all to enjoy.
The bronze pair was unveiled under a bright summer sky by George Lucas himself amid throngs of community members and fans eager to take part in the historical dedication of a place sure to flow strong in the Force for generations to come.
Later this summer, San Anselmo residents and Star Wars/Indiana Jones fans alike will have a new place to soak in the Marin County sunshine and become one with the Force. The San Anselmo Park project, which is being built on land donated by San Anselmo resident George Lucas and will feature two life-size bronzes sculpted by Academy of Art University’s very own Sculpture Chair Lawrence Noble, will provide San Anselmo residents with a new city jewel and visitor destination.
Life-size Yoda and Indiana Jones bronzes by Lawrence Noble will be installed over a fountain at the new San Anselmo Park
The bronzes – a Yoda identical to the one installed at Lucasfilm’s Presidio and Big Rock Ranch campuses and an all-new life-size Indiana Jones – will tower over an artful stone fountain along the western edge of the park, which is located at the corner of San Anselmo Ave. and Magnolia Ave. While the land has been donated by Lucas, the fountain, benches, lampposts, drinking fountains, trees, landscaping and other features will be funded by donations collected by the San Anselmo Community Foundation – which is where fans and park enthusiasts come in! Continue reading →
Several weeks ago, Academy of Art University Director of Sculpture Lawrence Noble and Director of Online Graduate Studies Jason Shaeffer had the privilege of visiting Lucasfilm’s Presidio campus in San Francisco to discuss the many bronze statues that adorn the park-like campus. The bronzes, which were all sculpted by Director Noble in the years before his arrival at AAU, have become something of an attraction at Lucasfilm headquarters, none more so than the Yoda fountain that greets visitors at the complex’s main entrance near Letterman Drive.
As the video discussion reveals, each sculpture is the result of a journey from concept to realization as well as a meeting of the minds between artist and client. We at AAU are extremely thankful that Lucasfilm provided this rare opportunity to hear the stories of these bronzes from the artist who created them, and hope that they will inspire students of sculpture to suit up (Noble’s words) and do, or do not — there is no try (Yoda’s words).
In the coming weeks and months, we’ll share some of the other bronzes Director Noble has done for Lucasfilm at the Presidio, including those of Willis O’Brien, Eadweard Muybridge, Philo Farnsworth, and Darth Vader – stay tuned!
For those interested in the Yoda bronze, you’ll be happy to know that The New San Anselmo Downtown Park project will be installing a bronze Yoda — and life-size Indiana Jones — on land donated by George Lucas himself! For details about the park and how you can make a donation to get your name on a plaque installed at the park, visit the San Anselmo Downtown Park Fund site!