2023 John Rolfe Dedication Group Photo 7 8 23

New Statue Illuminates Downtown Rolfe

This story originally appeared in the Record-Democrat newspaper as “Rolfe dedicates sculpture of John Rolfe.” Written by Erin Sommers; pokyrdnews@gmail.com

An image of the city of Rolfe’s namesake is on display in the community again.

The sculpture, which the Rolfe Hometown Pride Committee commissioned from Webster City artist Tim Adams, was dedicated July 8 during Greater Rolfe Days.

Jann Ricklefs, who serves on the Hometown Pride Committee, said the committee applied for and received a grant to cover part of the sculpture costs. The committee came across a sign Ricklefs’ mother, Darlene Brinkman’s mother had designed with a drawing of Rolfe. Brinkman served as the Rolfe mayor from 1980-87.

2023 John Rolfe Sculpture Night 1
John Rolfe sculpture is shown in the early evening hours. The three weathered steel panels interlock to form a three-sided sculpture with the John Rolfe line drawing cut into two panels and the third panel has the history of Rolfe engraved into the panel. LED internal lighting illuminates the sculpture at night. Submitted photo

Because the group decided on using this sign, Ricklefs decided to reach out to her own family members — she’s one of 10 children — to ask for their help in funding the sculpture. Her family members were on board with the idea “because it was a link to my mother,” she said. “It’s been great. Everybody got together, they were so excited about it.”

Nine of the 10 siblings were able to attend the dedication ceremony.

“It means a lot,” Ricklefs said, to see her mother’s drawing used in this way. “It just reminds me of the whole Rolfe connection. She was passionate about making her community a better place to live.”

Brinkman was always looking for ways to make the community better. The sign with Rolfe on it used to hang at the 6-mile corner. Eventually, Ricklefs said, it was removed.

“I’m just glad that somebody had saved the sign,” Ricklefs said.

Adams, the sculpture artists, installed the weathered steel panels on a triangular concrete base.

“My goal is to make public art that is inclusive and accessible and sparks a sense of wonder and a new perspective,” Adams said in his artist statement. “Public Art like the John Rolfe Project brings focus and attention to the community, increasing pride and creating a sense of place where citizens can gather or identify. It also will serve as a point of interest for travelers as they pass through the community.”

The history panel on the backside of the art shares a wonderful connection to the past and why the town is named Rolfe. Stop by Rolfe if you are traveling nearby in the evening to see this unique piece for yourself!

Historic Sites & Memorials Posted August 24, 2023

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