“Tempered By Memory” A 9/11 Sculpture in Saratoga Springs, NY

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“Tempered by Memory” is a contemporary sculpture by Noah Savett & John Van Alstine, constructed of five large pieces of steel from the World Trade Center. It is one of the only known such projects in the world. A team of dedicated Union ironworkers and crane operators (Local 12 & 106 respectively) assisted the artists in constructing the sculpture, which weighs over ten tons.

“A mission of this piece was to preserve things that really showed how much force and how terrible the event was. … To make something out of it that was uplifting and had a quality of beauty,” said Savett.

This 9/11 sculpture project has been coordinated by Saratoga Arts, in Saratoga Springs, NY and will be gifted to the City of Saratoga Springs. The City has yet to decide on a suitable location for the sculpture, however, Mayor Scott Johnson has pledged his support for ensuring that the sculpture be located within the City of Saratoga Springs, home to many New York City transplants.

Saratoga Arts held a recognition ceremony in remembrance of the tenth anniversary of 9/11 on Sunday, Sept 11, 2011. Attendees were honored to view and interact with the sculpture in the location where it was constructed (in the small hamlet of Gansevoort, Town of Northumberland, Saratoga County), just 10 miles outside of the City of Saratoga Springs.

The artists’ goal to uplift the soul, suggest healing, new visions for the future, and hope of a world where we can embrace our differences was evident on 9/11/11. The sculpture evoked aspirations of the human spirit for all those in attendance at the Remembrance Ceremony.

The Gansevoort Volunteer Fire Department was especially humbled by the sculpture, where they had the honor to present the colors at the historic 9/11/11 ceremony. This volunteer crew, part of a dedicated brotherhood, became directly tied to the souls lost on 9/11/01, however, the event was not somber and distressing. Surprisingly, the sculpture appeared to transmit a sense of empowerment to all in attendance, particularly the volunteer firefighters. Each individual had a different experience with the sculpture and took away different messages and emotions, tempered by their own memories, and experiences.

The sculpture has spawned an environment of solidarity and pride in the small hamlet of Gansevoort. A young, 17 year old, firefighter was most profound when he stated “Astonished,” in regard to his initial thoughts upon seeing the sculpture. “Amazed they could turn a total catastrophe into a piece of art.” This statement speaks volumes as we begin to see the future through the eyes of our children who were so young on Sept. 11, 2001. The sculpture is doing its job. This artwork is a catalyst for healing the wounds of the past and gives us hope for a brighter future.

Congratulations to Saratoga Arts and The City of Saratoga Springs for taking on a project of this magnitude.


Update: On July 24, 2012 the Sculpture was installed at its permanent home… High Rock Park in Downtown Saratoga Springs, New York.  Read more here

The “Tempered by Memory” Sculpture was dedicated on September 11, 2012.  Read about the Dedication Ceremony here.


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