Earth Portal was created by Taylor “Butch” Frazier Jr. in 1999. The work of public art is constructed of welded stainless and regular steel. Over the years, the stainless steel components of the piece have remained in good condition, while the regular steel components have rusted and decayed. As the work contains both types of metal, this was clearly a conscious choice by Frazier. The message contained in this choice is perhaps relatable to the human condition. Frazier suffered from lung cancer near the end of his life, and in fact, it is what encouraged him to begin creating sculptures. The rusted and pristine sides of Earth Portal could relate to both the public and private identities Frazier lived as he was dying, and to the way our bodies decay over time while other aspects remain the same. Additionally, the name of the piece seems to allude to Frazier’s own passing from living to another place or state of being. Earth Portal was dedicated on May 2, 1999 and Frazier passed away the next day. A personal friend of Frazier’s said of Earth Potal, “Butch wanted it to live in Ritter Park so folks could sit on it… kids could play on it… he probably wouldn’t have even minded the bits of graffiti.”1
1. Kaukonen, Jorma. A Spring Ride With Jerry, Cracks in the Finish. May 7th 2015. Accessed February 10th 2021. http://jormakaukonen.com/cracksinthefinish/?p=4504.
Preston, Gene. Sculpture in Ritter Park, Youtube. April 1st 2018. Accessed February 10th 2021. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4xFM46cYNVM&ab_channel=GenePreston.
Culloden, J. “Earth Portal Sculpture.” 2008. Flickr. Accessed February 10, 2021. https://www.flickr.com/photos/jculloden/2768573677/in/photostream/