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Sculptor of Donald Trump's presidential statue wants to be fair and objective

Jim Maher
Courtesy photo
Jim Maher poses with his sculpture of former Gov. Charles Sheldon in Pierre.

The sculptor of Rapid City's next presidential statue says he wants to portray former President Donald Trump impartially.

Statues of all the U.S. presidents stand on street corners throughout downtown Rapid City. The display is called the City of Presidents, and many of the statutes are Jim Maher’s work.

“Reagan was the first one. Gerald Ford, LBJ, Andrew Jackson, Herbert Hoover, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman, James Buchanan, George W. Bush. Lincoln is mine down there, too,” he said.

Maher loves doing the sculptures, but when he was asked to sculpt the 45th President of the United States, he paused.

“President Trump has been kind of a controversial figure," Maher said. "I had artists friends tell me it’d be the best thing I could ever do, or other people told me it'd be the worst thing for me.”

In the end, Maher took the job. He thought he might be the right person.

“I'm not a big fan of the guy. But on the other hand, I don't loathe him quite like so many people seem to," he said. "You've seen some of the fan art or, on the other side, some of the things that ridicule him. I didn't want to do that either way. So, I just, I just wanted to tell the truth about him, I guess.”

Several existing statues have needed repairs after they werehit by cars and others have been vandalized.

“I was talking to my brother and I said, ‘I'm gonna have to make it stout enough that people can't pull it over,’” Maher said.

Vandalizing a statue could result in fines or jail time. Maher said the design is finished and he’s ready to start sculpting.

No date or location is set for the unveiling of Donald Trump’s statue.

Megan hosts All Things Considered and the SDPB News podcast.
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