April 05 2017
Derek Chalfant, Associate Professor of Art, was recently selected to create a sculpture honoring the acclaimed author, Edgar Lawrence "E. L." Doctorow. The sculpture will be in the center of New Rochelle, New York, the city that inspired Doctorow’s best-known work, Ragtime.
The sculpture is part of a $125,000 grant through New York State to support the Doctorow Legacy Initiative, and Chalfant was selected from an international pool of submissions to honor the legendary author.
Chalfant’s design features a life-size figurative cast bronze sculpture of Doctorow holding his famed Ragtime novel. The figure itself stands on an over-sized version of Doctorow’s first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, as a symbolic foundation for the author’s work. Behind the sculpture will be a vertical plane, almost like the backdrop of a play or set that displays some famous quotes from Doctorow etched and inscribed in the metal on both sides.
Before coming to Elmira College, Chalfant received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Herron School of Art at Indiana University - Purdue University at Indianapolis and a master of fine arts from The University of Notre Dame. He has been teaching art and art history at Elmira College since 2003. His courses include contemporary art history, metal casting, furniture design, and all levels of sculpture.
Chalfant also supports the arts by jurying regional art exhibitions and doing pro bono work. He exhibits his sculpture and furniture nationally and is continually being commissioned to design and make artwork. His research includes designing and making sculpture and furniture specializing in wood and metal fabrication, as well as casting metal and glass.