The Making of a Man: Stanley W. Ray, Jr.

This blog post was written by Kim Bernadas, the sculptor who created a piece currently in City Putt.


The Making of a Man
When I was first approached by Conrad Meyer IV, representing the Stanley Ray Trust about creating the life size Bronze sculpture of Stanley W. Ray, I wondered what I was getting into. Although excited at the opportunity to create a life size bronze of Stanley Ray, my task as a sculptor would be challenging.  Despite his well known name and reputation as a benefactor and a fine gentleman, his physical image was one of a mystery. With only a couple of photos and a worn newspaper clipping, I was asked to create the 6’4” presence of Stanley Ray for the City Putt mini golf complex, located in New Orleans City Park.
I asked myself, “Who was this man?”
As with every new portrait sculpture, I am driven by the desire to represent the subject true to life, both inside and out. What makes the sculpture come to life lies in the ability to capture the essence of the individual both physically and soulfully.  I wanted to bring Stanley Ray to life.
As I began to dig into the history of Stanley Ray, one thing was very evident… Stanley Ray was a giver. Even as small boy, he was placing the needs of others ahead of himself. After his parents died unexpectedly, Stanley, only a teenager, took charge of his siblings and remained their faithful mentor. His destiny seemed to be in the making.  Throughout his life, Stanley reached out to the community in whatever way he could, to bring joy and assistance to the young children in need. His efforts can be seen in City Park, Audubon Park, playgrounds and meditation walks around the city, and now the beautiful family golf course, City Putt.
It was my mission, as a sculptor, to express his energy for life and his warm and giving nature in the sculptural form. Speaking to those who knew Stanley, they reminisced about how he looked, his demeanor. And finally, after reading about his accomplishments , I was then able  create his image as it stands today, welcoming all those who enter City Putt, his warm smile offering the promise of a fun time for children of all ages.  The legacy of Stanley Ray lives on as an example for all, in that the greatest reward lies in the joy we can bring to others.
Stanley W. Ray, Jr, was born in New Orleans in 1915, graduated from Jesuit High School and attended Tulane University. He also served in the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. Mr. Ray died in 1970.
You are welcome to visit the sculpture of Stanley W. Ray, Jr. at the front of City Putt’s New Orleans Course. The course is sponsored by The Stanley W. Ray, Jr. Philanthropic and Civic Trust.

-Kim Bernadas, Sculptor
www.kimbernadas.com