International Sculptor Sets Sights on Duluth Waterfront

By KBJR News 1

August 17, 2013 Updated Aug 17, 2013 at 5:49 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Plans to revitalize Duluth's waterfront could include a sculpture paying tribute to the men and women who sail the Great Lakes. A well–known artist is looking to construct a masterpiece for the city he has come to love.

A former sailor on the Great Lakes, Native Scotsman Shawn Williamson, is a world-renowned sculptor whose art is on display in collections throughout North America and Europe.

"Fulfil my dream to become a sculptor and that's what I do as a professional now," said Shawn Williamson, sculptor.

We last caught up with Williamson nearly a decade ago when he was in the middle of his master plan to sculpt "Fortitude," a monolithic 12 foot, 14–ton piece for the Duluth Waterfront, a place he considers a home away from home.

"I spent many times dropping into town, having a few beers and stuff and just living the Duluth life, sometimes going swimming in the lake over the side of the ship," said Williamson.

Now, ten years later his dream of showcasing his tribute to the sailors on the Great Lakes is closer to reality.

"It would be good to come back and do some kind of memorial perhaps for the merchant seaman, something to represent all the industry here," Williamson said.

Bayfront developers are showing interest in possibly including Williamson's work of art in their plans.

"We're looking at Duluth waterside site, it may expand into the great harbor, we just don't know yet," said Williamson.

And with the support of the community and the backing of other businesses, this sailor turned artist hopes his sculpture will become a permanent part of the Duluth waterfront.

Williamson is now in the fundraising stage of the "Fortitude" sculpture project and he hopes to have plans cemented with developers within the next six months.

Jeremy Brickley
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