The Dreamers "Wall of Faces"
Updated: Oct 30, 2022
"Completed in 1995 the sculpture stands on the grounds of the Samuel W. Houston secondary school. The Dreamer is a racially motivated sculpture crafted by artist Larry Zink and Monica Taylor. The sculpture was designed to underscore contributions made by the black community. It was commissioned by the Huntsville I.S.D., Huntsville Arts Commission, and the Samuel W. Houston High School Ex-Students Association." So states a brochure by the City of Huntsville Tourism & Cultural Services Department.
Being an outsider, the first time I visited the Samuel W. Houston Museum and Cultural Center this structure caught my attention. It is labelled "Wall of Faces"Dreamers. It is located in front of the Cultural Center. There are 68 molded faces in total, of men and women with their eyes closed. There are no names listed on the structure, however there is a large sign a couple of feet away where the words "Wall of Faces" Dreamers, Dedicated '1995', is the caption; below this caption is a photo of the original structure and below the photo is a list of names which are listed by their respective row.
As I viewed this structure my mind began to wonder. What is the meaning of this??? Why are the eyes closed on each face??? The dedication sign near the structure appears to be a separate work not part of the art work, but rather a replica of the original structure. It seems as if it was an attempt by the 1995 dedicators to add what the artist's rendition didn't include on his work; namely the identity of the faces. If this is the case, I wonder what the artist would think of this slight modification??? Would he or she approve or disapprove??? Who can really tell??? Perhaps if the opportunity arises I will certainly ask him.
I do have a bone to pick, not with the structure itself, but rather my beef is with the writer of the brochure which was quoted at the beginning of this article. The brochure was published by the City of Huntsville Tourism & Cultural Services Department, It reads: "The Dreamer is a racially motivated sculpture crafted by artist Larry Zink and Monica Taylor . . ." I'm not sure how to process this statement. Racially motivated??? Perhaps it was indeed racially motivated but I simply don't know, but would like to know. It just seems to be an odd statement. On the other hand it could have been an error or a misunderstanding of the real motivation. In any case the statement as it stands is a provocative one and should be clarified for the sake of the Museum, history and correctness.
I'm told that "The Dreamer's Wall of Faces" represent the African-American community and ex-students working in unison in order to preserve the legacy and spirit of Samuel Walker Houston and his dream. If this is the case, I'm an instant fan. If this is not the case, the structure on its own should be enough to hold its own and no doubtedly will cause any onlooker to pause, think and perhaps ponder its meaning for a while, which is in my opinion a good thing.
I have been told that there is a current research project about this attention getting structure. I am eagerly awaiting its story. I believe the full story should be told, and accurately too. I'm sure the full history of this sculpture will be an interesting one, especially for the alumni of the old school, from its initial conception to the artist who molded it. There is a lot of confusion surrounding the history of this structure. It's high time we get the story right before another generation has to deal with the current confusion that is in the air. Until then I encourage all to take a look at this fascinating structure and see what you think of it.
"The Dreamers'Wall of Faces" is on display at the Samuel W. Houston Museum & Cultural Center every day of the week.