It took over two years to come up with the perfect gift for the City of Fenton, which was kept tightly under wraps until an event Thursday that revealed the municipality’s newest artistic addition.

A couple of years ago, longtime Fenton residents Phil and Jocelyn Hagerman decided to have a piece of art commissioned to express how much they love being a part of the community. An idea to celebrate the city’s origin was brought to life by Artist Oleg Kedria, who sculpted a bronze foundry of three men sitting at a table playing cards. One of the men depicted is William Fenton, who had the winning hand in a game of poker that earned him the right to name the city on August 24th, 1837. Robert Leroy and Benjamin Rockwell were also a part of the game and continued to play for rights to name the city’s main streets.

The sculpture’s big reveal at the Fenton Community and Cultural Center drew over 100 people who were eager to see Kedria’s creation. After the cover was lifted, guests took advantage of the sculpture’s empty chair at the card table for a photo opportunity with the city’s namesake. The large crowd at the unveiling was a big help to a philanthropic mission of the Hagerman’s. The event raised over $13,000 to support local youth art programs. Jocelyn Hagerman says, “art is for all to enjoy and is another way we can be bound together.”

The sculpture is comprised of more than 125 pieces that were made separately and then assembled together for the end result. It was created at the Fine Arts Sculpture Centre in Clarkston, which is owned by Ben Cassell. Cassell says to date, the sculpture is the largest and most complex piece the foundry has ever completed. Kedria, who is from Ukraine, has 20 years of experience in sculpting historical figures. He says he is honored to have been given the opportunity to help resurrect a part of Fenton’s past through the lens of art.

Mayor Sue Osborn says the sculpture is a gift the city will always cherish. (DK)