The bronze statue of late President Ronald Reagan slated for dedication in Newport Beach later this year is nearing completion.
Local Balboa Island sculptor Miriam Baker has finished the full-size statue of Reagan and is putting the finishing touches on it at a local Orange County foundry. Baker told the NB Indy she’s “excited to see the reaction of the people here in Newport.”
“I think they will really like it and want to have their picture holding his hand like I did,” she said.
The creation of the statue is a time-consuming process that begins with sculptor Baker creating a life-size statue modeled in clay. Baker was assisted in sculpting the body portion of the statue by local artist Rhonda Jones of Huntington Beach. After creating a second version using wax, the statue is coated in a liquid ceramic substance that is then allowed to dry solid.
After the ceramic cures and solidifies, the wax is melted out, leaving a mold. Once any imperfections are corrected or changes are made in the mold, hot liquid bronze will be poured in and allowed to cool and the mold broken away to reveal the new statue.
Other Reagan statues were dedicated this month in London and in Budapest, Hungary. Baker thinks her Newport Reagan statue will hold its own against those around the world.
“I think I have captured him better than any other Reagan statue or bust I have seen anywhere,” Baker said.
This isn’t Baker’s first Reagan sculpture. A bust of the former president that she created is on display at Chapman University here in Orange County.
Newport Beach city officials who have seen the progress of the project are said to be very pleased.