A sculpture of Vince Gill planned for Bricktown has the approval of the Country Music Hall of Famer and, perhaps more importantly, the endorsement of his mother.
Now, it's up to the Oklahoma City Council to decide whether to approve the placement of the likeness of the 20-time Grammy winner.
A donor group represented by civic booster Lee Allan Smith wishes to honor Gill, 56, who was born in Norman but grew up in Oklahoma City, with the bronze created by local artist Jack Nortz.
“He just was a really nice guy, told us great stories and stuff while he was here, so it was very fun working with him,” said Nortz, who is head of the sculpture department for Oklahoma City-based MTM Recognition.
The Oklahoma City Arts Commission approved the project plans Monday, but City Council approval is needed before the sculpture can be installed. That vote could occur as early as July 30, said Jane Abraham, Oklahoma City community and government affairs manager.
The proposed setting for the statue is 25 S Mickey Mantle Drive in Bricktown, an empty brick area west of the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
Both Robbie Kienzle, liaison in the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs for the Oklahoma City Planning Department, and Abraham said the group of donors wanted to honor Gill because of his musical accomplishments and his support of Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City public art ordinances govern the approval process for art projects like these, as do organizations in specific districts, Kienzle said. As plans move forward, they also will be subject to approval from the Bricktown Urban Design District.
The roughly 9½-foot-tall sculpture already has been cast in bronze and is expected to be delivered from the foundry next week, Nortz said. The bronze depicts Gill standing with his hands resting on his electric guitar.
Nortz worked closely with Gill's mother, Jerene Gill, who still lives in Oklahoma City, to refine the likeness.
Nortz's sculpture of Gill will be his first to appear in Bricktown.
CONTRIBUTING: MATTHEW PRICE, FEATURES EDITOR