There is some new artwork in Downtown Flint. Two statues have been placed on the lawn at Flint City Hall to memorialize the auto workers of the 1900s. The statues were commissioned by a private donor and were sculpted by Suzanne Johnson of Suzanne Johnson Sculpture & Jewelry Design L.L.C. in Grand Blanc. According to Johnson, the sculpture commissions focus on the historical timeframe of 1930—when the Automotive industry was new, exciting, and full of promise. The granite bases are positioned beneath the bronze sculptures as if they were part of the factory ﬂoor. “It gives you a sense that you are viewing a working factory environment from the past,” Johnson explains.
One of the sculptures features a worker actively lifting a door in preparation for assembly onto the auto body. The other depicts a worker in the moment he set down a completed wheel hub to pick up a sign that acknowledges and thanks the workers from the past as well as the present.
“I was honored to be chosen by a private donor on behalf of all workers, to create these two sculptures that memorialize all the workers of Flint over the last hundred years,” says Johnson. The donor said, “Suzanne was qualified and chosen based on her high-quality skill level. She is a pleasure to work with.”
The commissioning body had several requests that Johnson was to fulﬁll including approvals of clothing choices, approvals of the ﬁnished clay sculptures prior to casting, and the sculptures were also set to be natural looking and full of life. “I was delighted to accept this commission!” Johnson exclaims. “I absolutely love to infuse my work with a sense of motion. True life is always in ﬂux, even when standing still, our muscles move as we breath,” she explains.
Although the artist didn’t know why Flint City Hall was chosen as the location of the statues, she was very excited about it. “Flint City Hall is a predominate building that marks the main entrance corridor to the town, welcoming all to Flint,” she says. “The mature trees and park-like lawn of the Flint City Hall work so complimentary with the style of my bronze sculptures.” Johnson says she chose bronze as a material of longevity in opposition to humanity’s perpetual fragility and brevity.
The statues of the auto workers are considered by many to be a good addition to Downtown Flint where there are life-size bronze replicas of auto industry leaders such as Billy Durant, Lois Chevrolet and Albert Champion.