The fundraiser held on November 14 at the Studio Bee at the Pikes Peak Center for the Performing Arts in Colorado Springs, Colorado was an amazing and successful event. There were over 130 people in attendance for the unveiling of the mini bust, the life-size bust and sketch maquette. Speakers included Kathleen Esmiol and Dr. Regina Lewis as well as a wonderful youth jazz band. We were also blessed with the company of Claudeen Bragg (Fannie Mae’s Niece), Colonel James Randall and Operatic Singer Peggy Shivers (her husband was Clarence Shivers, sculptor and Tuskegee Airman)

Clay sketch of Fannie Mae Duncan ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

Prior to this event I had sent photos to the Steering Committee showing them the option of adding a purse to the Fannie Mae maquette. It was my artistic opinion that a third element was needed in the composition to balance the work: The figure was the main element with the hat calling a lot of attention to the top of the piece. The outstretched arm/hand was the second element. I felt that adding the purse would be an anchor to the hat and arm, sending the eye in a circular rhythm around the sculpture. The typical design of the purses in 1950’s was much like this shape and the draping of the short handle strap did not interfere with the lovely and graceful break of her wrist. In fact, it does bring some attention to her lovely, manicured hand on hip. Interestingly, the Committee was split 50/50 on the purse. Some loved it, some not as much. That will always be the case, of course, as these things are a matter of opinion and interpretation.

So we had the idea to offer up a vote at the Fundraiser Dinner and let the whole audience participate. By a show of hands the 130ish people in attendance overwhelmingly voted ‘yes' to the purse. My apologies to the people in the ‘no’ camp. You opinion and tastes are just as valid, the sculpture works quite well either way. But we felt that the inclusion of the vote to the audience would be a good tie-breaker and a chance to let the interested and invested public be a part of the process.

Clay sketch of Fannie Mae Duncan ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of Fannie Mae Duncan ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy
Clay sketch of Fannie Mae Duncan ©Lori Kiplinger Pandy

I must say that the most interesting comment of the evening regarding this vote was from a gentleman that came up after the vote to tell me that he was there to officially change his vote. He had raised his hand to vote “no purse” but then reflected on it for a while and decided to change his vote to “yes purse” stating….”Fannie Mae carried a gun with her because she would work late and bring her payroll and earnings home to do bookkeeping. Of course she would have needed some place to carry her gun and it makes sense that she’d have tucked it into a purse!” Fannie Mae did indeed carry a gun for this protection - Colorful but true thought ;-)

The next step will be to get some quotes from the foundries on the costs for casting the mini-bust and the life-size bust in bronze and to resculpt the full-figure maquette with more detail at 1/4 life size (about 20” tall).

Below are a few photos from the lovely event and my sincere thanks to all those who organized, participated and attended. 

Dr. Regina Lewis speaking.

Colonel James Randall Tuskegee Airman

Fannie Mae Duncan Fundraiser Event

Kay Esmiol signing her book. Lori Kiplinger Pandy speaking with City Council Member Yolanda Avila

Lori Kiplinger Pandy and maquette at Fannie Mae Duncan Fundraiser Event ©Colorado Springs Gazette

Photo Courtesy and copyright of Colorado Springs Gazette (Link to article)

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