A public book-release celebration for "Charles Parks - The Man Behind the Art" is planned for Oct. 27 in Wilmington.
Delaware sculptor Charles Parks is honored in the new book "Charles Parks - The Man Behind the Art," featuring photography by Smyrna native Kevin Fleming.
The book, presented by the Charles Parks Foundation, is penned by Pam George. The
The book can be pre-ordered at charlesparksbook.com for a delivery this fall. A public book-release celebration is planned for Oct. 27 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the DuPont Environmental Education Center at the Russell W. Peterson Urban Wildlife Refuge at 1400 Delmarva Lane on the Wilmington waterfront.
"We at the Charles Parks Foundation felt strongly that the collection of more than 300 of Charles Parks' pieces should remain in the state that he loved so much," said Foundation board chairwoman June Peterson.
This book enables Parks' legacy to reach those who can't visit the First State.
"It makes his art readily accessible to those who loved him, knew him and worked with him, and it introduces Charles Parks to those who've seen his statues but never knew the 'man behind the art,'" Peterson said.
Realizing that Charles' works were state gems, Gov. Jack Markell accepted the collection in 2011, so that it was available to the people of Delaware.
"Charles Parks is a Delaware treasure and this is the largest contribution from a major Delaware artist that the state has ever accepted," said secretary of state Jeff Bullock, in announcing the donation.
That same year, the State of Delaware also named Parks the "Sculptor of Delaware."
Parks was proud of his home state. Rooted in the Delaware area, he never wanted to frequent avant-garde European galleries nor seek a place in the New York art scene. Instead for years, Parks lived and worked in Bancroft Mills, a former textile mill on the Brandywine in Wilmington, which now houses condominiums and offices.
Parks worked with bronze, steel, plaster, fiberglass, wood, terra cotta and marble, although bronze remained his favorite medium. Although he had delved into abstract art, his most revered works have been linked with realism, which depicts a common subject - person or animal - as in real life.
"I'm trying to reach people where they live." Parks once said. "Where they live is home, and it's their relationship with the world at large that I'm trying to communicate with."
Parks also adored the figure, whether it was of a human or an animal; he used a child's plump cheek, an outstretched palm, a focused gaze or a regal profile to convey meaning. "If I want to communicate with people - in sculpture - I need to use a symbol that everyone understands," he said. "The human figure is obviously the most practical approach."
Parks died on Oct. 25, 2012 at age 90. He is survived by his wife of more than 70 years, Inge Parks, along with four children, nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Parks hoped that after his death his work would continue to be meaningful. Foundation director Stephen Mockbee has no doubt about that.
"Our state of Delaware and our country is a much better place because of Charles Cropper Parks. He will live forever in his sculpture," Mockbee said.
About the Foundation
The Charles Parks Foundation, led by Board Chair June Peterson, was founded in 2000 with the goal of keeping his collection in the State of Delaware. In 2011, the state of Delaware accepted nearly 300 pieces, along with Parks' files. For more information, visit charlesparksbook.com.