Penn State Fayette to unveil sculpture of James Lawson Jr. on June 22

All are invited to attend the 1 p.m. unveiling in the newly renovated campus library
Preview of the Rev. James Lawson Jr. sculpture.

Sculptor Vinnie Bagwell has provided a preview of the Rev. James Lawson Jr. sculpture. Refinements will continue in the wax phase leading up to the sculpture's public unveiling at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22, in Penn State Fayette's newly renovated campus library. 

Credit: Sculpture by Vinnie Bagwell. Photograph by Pierre Mandela Blake.

LEMONT FURNACE, Pa. — Penn State Fayette, The Eberly Campus, will unveil a bronze sculpture of the Rev. James Lawson Jr., an iconic figure of the Civil Rights Movement, at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 22. Crafted by artist Vinnie Bagwell, the finished piece will be presented to the Fayette community inside the newly renovated campus library.

Lawson was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, and has been a vocal advocate for a range of social issues. He earned the Community of Christ International Peace Award in 2004, and the UCLA Labor Center’s historic MacArthur Park building was named in his honor in 2021.

The Eberly Foundation collaborated with Penn State to commission the sculpture to honor Lawson's lifelong dedication to nonviolent activism and social justice. Bagwell, known for her compelling public artworks and dedication to representing historic Black figures, was chosen to immortalize Lawson’s legacy in bronze.

Bagwell, a self-taught artist with an extensive portfolio of public commissions, employs traditional bas-relief techniques to weave rich narratives through her work. Her commitment to diversity and representation in public art aligns with the values and mission of Penn State Fayette as a hub of educational and cultural diversity.

For more information about the unveiling, call 724-430-4195.