The City of Red Deer has officially unveiled its 10th statue in its Ghost Collection. The Downtown Business Association commissioned the first ghost project in 1994. Red Deer is proud to have an internationally renowned collection of life-size bronze statues that tell the story of Red Deer.
“The Ghost Project is one of the pieces of Red Deer that distinguishes us as a community. It was started with a dream that we would have a permanent art collection of bronze on our City streets,” say Mayor Morris Flewwelling, at the unveiling.
The latest ghost, titled ‘Waiting for Gordon’ is a tribute to Gordon and Julietta Sorensen who ran Red Deer’s first bus service and the Blue Derby Café which operated out of the bus depot.
“‘Waiting for Gordon’ embodies the human aspect of public transit—the people who offer the service, the people who use it and the relationship between them.”
This bronze masterpieces have been placed at the new transit terminal which has also been named after the couple who launched the transit system in Red Deer in 1957.
This particular ghost is composed of six separate pieces. There are two depictions in the form of roundels, one of Gordon and one of Julietta, on a wall of the transit building and then there is the statue of Julietta herself with three suitcases by her feet.
“It was pretty exciting when we called this Sorensen Station but it is even more exciting to see the bronzes to commemorate them,” said Flewwelling.
Kristina Oberg, acting recreation, parks and culture manager said this ghost is meaningful because the Sorensens were seen on the streets all the time.
“They were at the centre of the community, greeting and feeding people, and taking care of visitors.”
All of the bronze statues in Red Deer have been made by Alberta artists. This particular ghost was created by an artist by the name of Brian McArthur.
“When I got commissioned to do this project I was happy and encouraged to do it. I am interested in this community’s history and being able to tell this story is really fantastic.”
I am very proud and very honoured to create this artwork for my community. I also wanted to share the compelling story of Gordon and Julietta Sorensen, about their frontier spirit and their pioneering bus service that they created in Red Deer and Central Alberta.”
The story behind the sculpture, according to the artist, is that Julietta is stepping out of the Blue Derby, looking down the street, and wondering how long Gordon will be. She is looking out for the luggage for her patrons that are probably eating pie and drinking coffee while they are waiting for the bus.
Many people gathered for last week’s presentation of the new statues. Gordon and Julietta’s grandson Ted Sorensen was there to partake in the unveiling.
“My grandmother always did just what she thought needed to be done. Any recognition was not nearly as important as making sure things got done.”
Ted said the artist really captured his grandmother’s essence right down to the barrettes she wore in her hair.
“The details show her personality. That’s her here. That’s my grandmother.”