Scott Fuller of Poland, Maine, was awarded a prestigious Olympic Ring Award in Beijing, China, on May 31 as part of the Olympic Landscape Sculpture Contest. Fuller's sculpture, co-designed with Asherah Cinnamon of Portland, was one of 50 Ring Award winners out of 290 design finalists selected as "Excellent Works." Called "Reaching for Courage: Gateway to China," the sculpture featured a series of towering gates, each designed to resemble a flame. The sculpture design will be displayed at the Olympics this summer, along with the works of 29 finalists who received gold, silver, and bronze medals.
Fuller, an artist and art professor at Saint Joseph's College, attended the award ceremony with Cinnamon. They were the only Americans present at the awards ceremony in Beijing, a red-carpet event broadcast on Chinese TV.
Fuller and Cinnamon's design traveled to 35 countries during the last year, as part of an international tour featuring the top-tier works chosen from the original 2,400 designs submitted from 82 countries. Only two other Americans had sculpture designs in the tour of finalists.
Fuller believes the sculpture contest was a powerful diplomatic tool that China gave the world. "It's a case of art promoting global goodwill," he said.
In Beijing, Fuller met earthquake victims and heard their stories because the award ceremony also served as a tribute to them. "I hugged a teacher who had lost his school, and I promised to build a sculpture in remembrance for his province," said Fuller. " The real importance of this experience was creating peaceful international dialog and cultural exchange," he added. "It reaffirmed my belief that art has the power to heal misunderstanding and tragic events."
Fuller and Cinnamon's design was published in five books about the sculpture contest.
June 9, 2008 Contact: Charmaine Daniels at (207) 893-7723 or e-mail email@example.com