About the Project
This project involved replacing the existing fire station at this site with a new fire station, a single story 9,000 square foot building using the latest design standards for fire stations. The percent for public art budget of $12,000 was awarded to sculptor Austin Weishel of Loveland, Colorado.
With input from members of the Hutchinson Fire Department, Weishel created a bronze sculpture entitled "Tools of the Trade" depicting bunker gear and tools used in firefighting.
"Tools of the Trade" will be prominently displayed outdoors on a pedestal at the front of the building within a terrace near the public sidewalk
About Austin Weishel
Austin Weishel discovered sculpting after visiting his grandparents in Prescott, AZ, where they took him on a tour of a local bronze foundry. There he was introduced to the process of casting clay sculptures into bronze. The owner of a bronze factory in Prescott challenged him to make something out of a ball of clay. He told him if it was any good, he would cast it in bronze. Intrigued and inspired, he took the clay home to Colorado and he began his first sculpture. After several months, he returned to Arizona with a finished clay sculpture of a fireman. Impressed with the sculpture, he cast it in bronze and offered him a summer internship. After interning, he chose sculpting as a career.
Weishel decided to sculpt first responders due to his interest in police and fire service. In high school, he worked as a student firefighter for the Loveland Fire Department for two and a half years, and subsequently joined Loveland’s student police program. At 18 years of age, he successfully completed one of Colorado’s Fire Academies to become a firefighter. Soon after, he was certified in First Aide, CPR and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), Wild Land firefighting, HAZMAT and numerous other certifications.
Weishel's transformation from small pieces to life-size works garnered his first commission with the Windsor-Severance Fire Department. He sculpted a life-size fireman, named “Follow Your Heart” at 19 years old.
Today, Weishel continues to combine his two passions for art and firefighting. His latest project, the National Fire Dog Monument named “Ashes to Answers” is a life-size fireman with an arson K-9. The monument is located at Fire Station #2 in downtown Washington, D.C. “Ashes to Answers” was commissioned by Jerry Means, an arson investigative agent with the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI). With this monument, Weishel won the Most Popular Monument of Washington, D.C. from the Washington Post in 2014.