Challenges to Apollo – sculptor details its creation

Mark Warner, former AB student and designer of Apollo, stands aside the sculpture he spent over five decades creating on Oct. 4. Photo by Kashawn Shifflett.

By Hadassah Curry

Apollo’s creator revealed his iconic piece took three attempts over 50 years to finish at this Thursday’s Dr. Robert V. Digman Lecture Series.

Guest speaker Mark Warner, a 1968 graduate of Alderson Broaddus University, said the weather affected earlier versions of the sculpture, which was a donation to AB’s administration.

“The first time, I built it in 1970 with fiberglass,” Warner said. “But when winter came, the sculpture would freeze up. The second time was in 1972 during AB’s 100 year anniversary. I used molding plaster that set up real quick but wasn’t long lasting.”

Warner explained that the current version of Apollo was built in 1998 with polytetrafluoroethylene, a synthetic resin that can withstand exposure to any type of weather. He claimed it took twenty years for the Apollo to completely switch from fiberglass to polytetrafluoroethylene.

The current Apollo is hollow and contains a time capsule from the 1970s-1990s. In the capsule, there are alumni letters, calendars and pictures.

During the lecture series, Warner brought more than ten masterpieces with him to the luncheon. Most of his artwork was built with chestnut and apple tree wood. Across AB’s campus are several other examples of Warner’s art, but the most prominent is the campus’ central Apollo statue.

Warner received his degree at AB in psychology, but later began his career as a self-employed wooden furniture craftsman. This winter, Warner plans to build a piece based on Easter Island statues in Chile with styrofoam and fiberglass.

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