© The Walk, 2018, Bronze & Concrete, 84 x 96 x 60 inches, Collection of Frank West, Pittsburgh, PA
On March 13, 2011, THE WALK was posthumously dedicated on what would have been the 79th birthday of architect, city planner and real-estate developer, Franklin West. The sculpture shows a figure that is both firmly grounded yet striding forward. With one arm swinging freely and one leg advancing, the sculpture is symbolic of the past, present and future.
Franklin West’s signature trait was that while he was always cognizant of the impact of his work in the present moment, he remained sensitive to the legacy that his work would have on future generations, as well as honored the past by respecting tradition and keeping those customs alive. “There is always a balance, not just in community and architecture but in our lives,” said Franklin, who was also the cousin of Jim West. THE WALK captures not only his intentions, but also the essence of the man himself.
“I was asked to do this sculpture to honor a close family member. He was a mentor in my life. He was a respected architect. He was a thoughtful urban planner. And he was my cousin. My late cousin always talked about respect and how he never lost sight of that core value, that reverence, in the homes and the neighborhoods he touched. Things could be different and redeveloped, but the lens through which that change occurred had to respect the fabric of that neighborhood – its people, its architecture, its essence. This piece is about touching the past and having respect for it, but not living in it. It’s about reaching for the future. And it’s about acknowledging, through a slight turn of the head, the present. THE WALK echoes the need for a balance of all those things we need in life: past, present, and future.”