(inspired by the poem, The Windhover, by Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1877)
In 1974, the Committee for Art (CFA) at Hinsdale Junior High raised over $20,000 to purchase the sculpture sometimes known as “Big Blue” and bring it to Hinsdale’s outdoor art scene. It was partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Their goals were: “To provide a tangible, lasting way of expressing our pride in the past and hope for the future; To create a favorable climate for the reception of all arts; To provide future generations with a distinguished heritage of community art.”
The Windhover was installed on September 14, 1976, in celebration of the nation’s bicentennial and coinciding with construction of the new HMS building. At the installation, Mr. Murray himself declared that he dedicated the Windhover “to honor all D181 students past, present, and future.”
To view a copy of the program for that day, which includes a list of the CFA members, the Board of Education members in 1975-76, and a list of donors, please click here.
Did you know that the Windhover has been officially registered by the Smithsonian? Because of its role in the history of outdoor sculptures, the Smithsonian designated it as a “significant outdoor sculpture,” one of about only 400 sculptures nationwide to hold this honor!
Now, 45 years later, the estimated value of our sculpture has increased to over $250,000! But the Windhover has borne the brunt of weather and human interaction and is in need of a facelift. HMS PTO, in coordination with the sculpture’s owner, D181, is working towards returning the sculpture to its former beauty. With the opening of the new HMS building, this is a perfect time to rejeuvenate its landmark sculpture.
Many layers of paint and rust will be professionally removed and the 4,500 lb Cor-Ten steel sculpture will be treated to a high-performance coating that is durable and weather resistant. The sculpture will be removed to a fabricator for a few weeks and returned to a new cement pad near the school’s South Lawn and the bus loop. The project will include fresh landscaping, seating for students, appropriate lighting, and security cameras. We hope to raise enough money to additionally start a fund for future on-site repairs.
District 181 and HMS PTO are partnering to contribute a portion of the cost, and the HMS Windhover Committee has agreed to raise $40,000. This will be put toward the cost of the restoration of the Windhover and its relocation to a prominent and accessible space on the HMS South Lawn. All additional funds raised will be put toward future upkeep of the sculpture.
We need your help!