By Sue Wolfe
A beautiful new sculpture has landed in the Heart of Cedar Springs and the artist who created it will be familiar to many.
“Love what you do and you will never work a day in your life” is local artist Steve Anderson’s motto as he celebrates 44 years of living by and through his “God-given gift” of sculpting. Anderson’s stainless-steel sculpture of a blue heron, standing nine feet tall with a six foot wing span and titled “Ascension,” was recently set in place in the northwest area within the Heart of Cedar Springs park along Cedar Creek between the new community library and amphitheater. This is the second piece of Anderson’s abstract, nature-based work in the park. It joins his earlier piece titled “Dragons Flight” featuring three dragonflies in motion. Both sculptures are done using the 316L alloy that has superior anti-rust qualities and beautifully retains its shine.
Anonymous community philanthropists and lovers of art commissioned both pieces. They said their dream is for our community to have its own sculpture park where people of all ages could enjoy the outdoors while appreciating their interaction with the sculptures. Hopefully, some will be inspired to a higher level of artistic appreciation and new possibilities.
Local artist Alice Powell-Anderson, (not related to Steve Anderson) was one present for the recent dedication of the sculptures. “Both of Anderson’s pieces fit very well along the pond and creek and are nicely done,” she said.
Mayor Gerald Hall, on behalf of the City of Cedar Springs, expressed his gratitude to Anderson and the donors in saying, “These two Anderson sculptures are wonderful additions to our newest community park.”
In the late 1990’s, Anderson created two stainless steel hawks for Cedar Springs Public Schools with the larger 18-foot tall “Tom Brown Fire Hawk” being located in front of the football stadium honoring the late football Coach Tom Brown. This Red Hawk took about three months to construct with assistance from Tom Kloote’s and Dan Davis’s high school vocational education students. Coach Lonnie Armstrong assisted in the smaller hawk standing in front of the high school.
Anderson’s sculptures “Water Dance” is seen at the Rogue River Rockford Dam built in 2010.
Anderson’s father was a steel hauler and often brought home scrap metal pieces, therefore allowing him to create his first pieces in their garage. Anderson credits his mother for encouraging him to pursue his art and suggested he introduce his talents to the public eye by renting space in Wyoming’s Old World Village Mall back in 1975. Mr. Wally Murphy, Anderson’s strict and structured 7th grade art teacher, praised him and told him he possessed something very special.
Anderson married his childhood sweetheart, Janell, after earning his bachelor’s degree in 1975 from Grand Valley State University with a major in art and minor in business. Soon they were blessed with three sons—Troy, Cory and Chad. All three sons were accomplished Cedar Springs student-athletes. Many others benefited from Anderson coaching wrestling while his boys were involved. Both Janell and Steve were actively involved in volunteering with school and athletic organizations. They also kept an “all welcome at our home” policy for the young people of our community.
Currently, Troy is a sculptor in the summer when not teaching eighth grade at Rockford North Middle School. Cory is a Sheriff Deputy for Lake County in Florida, as well as being recognized as a very good sculptor. Chad is a full-time sculptor in the Cedar Springs area. Steve and Janell now spend winters with Cory in Florida doing 4–6 art shows a year featuring Anderson’s 3-D stainless steel and aluminum kinetic (wind activated) works of art. Anderson does five to 10 shows in Michigan and surrounding states during the summer. Eventually, Anderson hopes to only do commissioned sculptures for municipalities.
The Andersons priorities begin with a Christ-centered family foundation. They feel blessed to have family share in their passion for sculpture. This is demonstrated with the emergence of the third generation of Anderson artists—Troy’s 16-year-old son, Quaden. Sculpting has always been a family activity with the legacy of each being challenged to begin sculpting by the age of 12. Then, they learn other basic sculpting techniques such as raising and chasing metal with hammers into a sandbag.
Anderson explained he does all sizes of sculptures and each one is an original inspired by the “Ultimate Master Sculptor, God.” And, while he doesn’t actually have one favorite piece he does have favorite features about each of his pieces. Features he particularly enjoyed creating with his two Heart of Cedar Springs pieces include the welded and ground textures on the head and neck of “Ascension” and the overall graceful flow and glass eyes on “Dragons Flight.”
When asked what words of encouragement he might like to share with young people he said, “Whatever you have a passion for, just stop and think about that thing you enjoy more than anything else. Never let money be the major factor. Now figure out how to make a living doing it.”
More information about Andersons Sculptures can be found at AndersonsMetalSculpture.com or you can email Steve Anderson directly with additional questions at Sculptor76@yahoo.com.