For over 30 years, Mister Rogers entertained and educated children with his beloved TV program Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Now, his alma mater Rollins College is honoring his life and work with a massive bronze sculpture of Rogers and his puppet character, Daniel Tiger, entertaining a group of children.
The 7-foot-tall statue, entitled A Beautiful Day for a Neighbor, was unveiled at a private ceremony on October 28 in the Chapel Garden courtyard on campus. Rollins College commissioned renowned British sculptor Paul Day to capture the famous alum—a feat that took the artist 11 months and over 5,000 pounds of clay to complete. “I felt the sculpture needed to show Mister Rogers doing what he did, and it needed to show something of the character of the program itself, of the Neighborhood,” Day explains. “That was how he was known, through the TV set, the puppets, the little documentaries. I wanted somehow to put Mister Rogers in context.”
Day managed to create a story in the statue from every angle. So, while in the front, Rogers is wearing his signature knit sweater and delighting a group of children, the back features a replica of the “Neighborhood of Make-Believe” and its characters from the long-running show. “He always said that everything he did was about celebrating the young lives of children everywhere, so I thought that’s the key to making a successful sculpture of Mister Rogers. It’s to put him in the very heart of children’s lives and have him in the place he’d always want to be, and that is communicating very deeply on a one-to-one level with children.”
Additionally, the bottom of the statue is embellished with the lyrics to Neighborhood‘s theme song, “Won't You Be My Neighbor.” Rollins College President Grant Cornwell hopes that the statue will serve as a “permanent reminder of the ideals and values modeled by Mister Rogers,” and “reinforce the quest for empathy, acceptance, and kindness.”
Rollins College in Florida unveiled a new statue that commemorates Fred Rogers in his role as the famous TV show host Mister Rogers.
Made by renowned British sculptor Paul Day, A Beautiful Day For a Neighbor depicts Rogers holding the puppet character Daniel Tiger and is surrounded by children.
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