The Arts
George Beasley
George Beasley during the Holiday Iron Pour at the sculpture studio.

Sculpting History

Regents’ Professor George Beasley to retire after four decades at GSU

Traveling through Atlanta’s most famous intersection, it’s hard to miss Regents’ Professor of sculpture George Beasley’s 36-foot bronze and coated steel “Five Points Monument” at the corner of Peachtree and Marietta streets.

Commissioned in 1996 by the Corporation for Olympic Development in Atlanta for the Bicentennial Olympics, the monument is an asymmetric interpretation of the artisian water tower, with a traditional girder construction, that once stood there.

But the prominent sculpture is just one piece of Beasley’s celebrated career.

Beasley joined the faculty at GSU in 1970 and helped develop the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, particularly the sculpture program.

“The growth [of the program] is like a train out of control,” he said. “It’s just really fantastic. It’s great to have been a part of that.”

Beasley will retire in December to pursue research projects and work on personal pieces.

During his nearly 40 years at GSU, Beasley has worn multiple hats. He’s been a professor of sculpture and drawing, and also served as a graduate advisor for the art school.
He may be best remembered, however, for creating one of GSU’s most loved traditions, the Holiday Iron Pour — which began in 1972 and is now the second oldest public iron pour in the country.

It started when Beasley noticed his students creating holiday presents instead of their final projects. He made them a deal: If they finished their work, he’d keep the furnace going after the semester so they could make gifts. These days, faculty, students, staff, family and friends of the Georgia State community now gather at the sculpture building each December to watch the hot metal emerge from molds as sculptures.

Beasley’s exhibitions, performances and installations are featured across the United States and the world, from his four bronze panels on wood structure in Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to “Boundaries,” a performance and installation at Clashnettie, Glen Deskry, Scotland.

 

A young sculptor shows off her star mold
A young sculptor shows off her star mold.
Dozens of molds were poured during the annual iron pour.
Dozens of molds were poured during the annual iron pour.
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Check out one of GSU’s most beloved traditions. View Slide Show »