Soldiers & Sailors curator Kraus sculpting ties to Israel
For most sculptors, the act of molding, bending or shaping a stone or a piece of metal into a piece of art is enough.
Not for Michael Kraus. Not this time, at least.
He's overseas shaping culture.
Kraus, the curator at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum in Oakland, was one of 10 sculptors selected to add to the cache of artwork that adorns a park in Israel.
“Sculpting in the Quarry,” is a regional development project of the Partnership2Gether, an outreach program of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh and the Jewish Agency for Israel. Similar to a Sister City program, P2G aims to link Pittsburgh to the city of Karmiel and the Misgav region, in Israel's Galilee, through a wide range of cultural, social and economic-development projects.
“Michael's work is well-known and well-regarded, in both the historical and artistic communities,” says Sue Linzer, senior manager of Overseas Operations for the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh. “He was a great selection for this project.”
This is the first time a Pittsburgh artist has been chosen to participate.
Each year since 2007, 10 sculptors from Israel and other countries gather for three weeks in the Galilee Park in Karmiel. Years ago, the park was an abandoned quarry, but with the help of aggressive revitalization efforts, it has since been converted into one of the most picturesque parks in Israel.
Today, the 125-acre park has about 30 original sculptures — made of stone, iron, ceramics and wood — that complement the natural beauty of waterfalls, shaded sitting corners, amphitheater and “four winds” observatory.
Kraus started carving things in high school and has been sculpting professionally for roughly 30 years.
He studied at Edinboro University and earned a degree in fine arts, though not in sculpture. There were no inspiring sculpture professors there at the time, he says, so he specialized in print making.
These days, he creates artwork with stone and bronze.
“Being in Israel is an overpowering experience, an ancient land with modern people,” he says. “I know I will personally take much away from here, ironically, while leaving something behind.”
One of the challenges to sculpture — and perhaps any other form of art that draws influence from history — is capturing culture, he says. And that means taking on lots of research, tons of it in libraries and on the Internet.
“I like to think of it as finding authenticity, especially when doing work on an historic theme,” says Kraus, who lives in Ingomar. “I love to learn the smallest details which become storytelling tools and help the piece appear realistic. As an artist, I have a responsibility to portray my subjects as accurately as I can because I become a translator between the past and present.”
Chris Ramirez is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-380-5682.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt recruit Whitehead remains committed
- Pirates win bidding for Korean infielder
- Stocks push to record highs, continuing rally
- Steelers’ Beachum, Williams hurting but could play vs. Bengals
- WPIAL players named to Class AAA, A all-state teams
- Worker at Mercer County center accused of illegal sexual contact with juveniles
- Ex-Penguins defenseman Niskanen still miffed by coaches’ firings
- Leon Ford’s civil rights lawsuit can proceed, judge rules
- Rex Energy spills flowback on Butler County wellpad, says DEP
- Judge says Ariz. sheriff’s challenge of immigration plan better left for Congress
- Rossi: Steelers rising fast in mediocre AFC