An inspiring outdoor sculpture site on the campus of Abilene Christian University, in tribute to Grace L. Woodward, a woman after God’s own heart.
From the Artist
The biblical patriarch Jacob lay his head on a pillow of stone, dreamed of angels and received a blessing from God. Upon awakening, he anointed the stone, calling that special place “the gate of heaven . . . the house of God.”
Scripture’s account in Genesis 28 of Jacob’s unusual dream provides a brief glimpse of a moment in time when the dark mirror is removed and the glory of God seen firsthand. I hope that through this sculpture, the viewer might find his or her heart echoing Jacob’s words, “Surely the LORD is in this place and I knew it not.”
The four angels are portrayed as masculine beings, consistent with scriptural descriptions. The heavenly beings appear to increase in age as their proximity to earth increases, symbolizing the fallen state of the earth, corrupted by sin. The angels become more human-like as they near earth, with smaller wings and more conventional attire. The wings of the angels are based on those of an osprey, one of the most powerful and beautiful birds of prey in North America.
In designing this site, I endeavored for a purposeful melding of form and meaning. The basic footprint is evocative of the Trinity. Engraved scriptures provide spiritual focus and guidance. The basic elements of creation “water, rock and plants” speak to the nature of God, His Son and His promises. The bronze angels, four in number, suggest God’s continual presence “whither thou goest” to the four corners of the earth.
It is my hope and prayer that this will be a place of meditation and worship, a place where new births in Christ might occur, hearts might be renewed, and, above all else, where the God above all gods might be glorified.
- The sculpture is 34 feet from the bottom of the pedestal to the top angel.
- The site includes a round baptismal pool 10 feet in diameter and 3 feet deep.
- Each angel is eight feet tall.
- The total metal work, including a stainless steel inner structure, weighs more than 7,000 pounds.
- Models for the angels included the artist and six ACU and local high school students, utilized to verify proportions and musculature. With the exception of the second highest angel, whose portrait was based on Jack Maxwell’s son, Matt, the faces were inspired by individuals but not specifically modeled after them.
- Several ACU art students assisted on Jacob’s Dream and Jack’s wife, Jill, who also is an artist and talented sculptor, spent countless hours on the project.