Sculptors don’t often receive raucous applause – especially from hundreds of teenagers. But at the Mead High School holiday assembly on Dec. 18, shouts and cheers rang out for sculptor Rick Davis.
The artist had recently completed a steel statue for the school. Thanks to Davis, Mead students can now say, “Meet me at the panther.”
Principal Ken Russell explained, “We didn’t have a panther monument anywhere on our campus.”
When Davis heard school administrators were looking to commission a sculpture, he eagerly offered his services. “I’d been looking for an opportunity to do a public piece,” he said.
Davis is no stranger to the Mead campus. His son Seamus graduated from the school last year, and his son Jack is a junior.
He’s also no stranger to art. Davis started welding at 12 and has enjoyed metalwork ever since. His work incorporates a variety of themes, from Celtic designs to yoga and Sanskrit imagery. He’s currently working on a life-size Ganesh (a Hindu deity), which will be displayed at Spokane Yoga Shala.
His skill and his connection to Mead proved to be a great match with additional benefits to the school. “I’m more affordable than Harold Balazs, because I’m unknown,” Davis said, laughing.
He spent 6 1/2 months crafting the 642-pound panther. Spokane Valley business Wagstaff Inc. donated the scrap steel for the piece.
From nose to tail, the sleek statue measures nearly 7 feet in length. Davis sculpted the panther in mid-stride. The big cat’s eyes seem to glow and his open mouth reveals fearsome fangs. Installed on an 8-foot base near the east entrance to the school, the sculpture provides a focal point for school pride.
“The panther really represents unity,” Russell said. “Our 1,600 students and 150 staff members come from all different backgrounds, but we are all panthers. It’s a great way to symbolize our sense of community.”
At the recent assembly, Davis beamed as the students clapped for him. “I’m excited,” he said. “It’s my first real public piece.”
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.