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Bas Relief Plaque Dedicated to Former Mayor Harold Washington at Chicago Library

March 11, 2015 Plaques

When it comes to honoring a special person or commemorating an historic event, there really isn’t a better way to have that legacy live on than having a bas relief plaque created. In 2014, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Harold Washington Legacy Committee did just that when they commissioned a bronze relief of former Mayor Harold Washington for the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago.

L-R: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Dr. Conrad Worrill unveil the Harold Washington plaque at the Harold Washington Learning Center (HWLC) Nov. 14. 2014 (Photo Credit: Lee Edwards, Chicago Citizen

L-R: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Dr. Conrad Worrill unveil the Harold Washington plaque at the Harold Washington Learning Center (HWLC) Nov. 14. 2014 (Photo Credit: Lee Edwards, Chicago Citizen)

The committee worked for years to pay tribute to the first African-American mayor of Chicago, and it proved a momentous occasion when their hard work finally came to fruition. Mayor Emanuel credited Washington’s time as mayor with, “…weaving that fabric of 77 neighborhoods and 140 different nationalities into one.”

Washington was elected mayor after spending his formative years in the Bronzeville neighborhood of Chicago. He had a distinguished political career and served in the Illinois House of Representatives, the Illinois Senate, and the U.S. House, as well as working as an attorney.

Washington was also instrumental in securing the funding, both private and public, to create the library that now bears his name. It opened four years after his death in 1991 and now, thanks to the vision of city leaders and committee members, Impact Signs, with designer Chad Jordan, has created a plaque suitable for preserving and sharing the memory of this pioneering man.

Harold Washington Library Center Plaque

Harold Washington Library Center Plaque

 

Artisans have been creating bas relief works since the time of the ancient Egyptians and Impact Signs continues that legacy of high quality craftsmanship, but now coupled with state of the art technology. Impact Signs’ in-house sculptor worked from a photograph to sculpt Mayor Washington’s portrait from clay.  Following the approved sculpture, a sand mold is created and then the reliefs are cast in solid bronze, which stands up to the test of time. Impact Signs also hand finishes the plaques with background painting and Diamond Shield clear protective coating.

Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987)

Mayor Harold Washington (1922-1987)

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Clay Sculpture for Sand Mold

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Finished Plaque

 

Because the bas relief plaques are so durable, they are suitable for both outdoor and indoor display. Due to the high quality of the plaque, the lead time is between 6-8 weeks, however, Impact Signs can have it completed in as a little as three weeks if need be. The bas relief plaques can also depict multiple people, buildings, vignettes, or city seals.

Also because Impact Signs is dedicated to the well being of our environment, all plaques are made without the use of mercury or lead. We also recycle all scrap metal in the casting process and re-use the sand to make the sand molds. The sand is saved using a custom vacuum system designed specifically for Impact Signs.

Click here for more information regarding Bas Relief Plaques.

Written by: Shabbir Moosabhoy