Brad Vanneman, Sculptor

In the News

Sculpting medal of excellence

Delaware Online | January 31, 2019 | Watch Video

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Local sculptor Brad Vanneman was selected by the The Grand to create the Grand Medal for Excellence in the Performing Arts medal given to Tatiana Copeland.

Jennifer Corbett

Warner Elementary Honors Former Teacher With Bust

WITN Channel 22 Wilmington | December 21, 2018 | View full story

Fred Johnson bust unveiling

Mayor Michael Purzycki and City Cultural Affairs Tina Betz joined with officials from the Red Clay Consolidated School District to unveil a permanent exhibit honoring the life and accomplishments of Delawarean Fred T. Johnson. The exhibit, consisting of a bust of Mr. Johnson and a wall memorial, has been erected at the Warner Elementary School on West 18th Street. It is at this school, which was previously known as Warner Junior High School, where the former Tuskegee airman became the school's first African American teacher and Chair of its Science Department.

The Mayor and Tina Betz today thank the bust artist, Brad Vanneman and the graphic designer, Caroline Chen, for creating such a wonderful tribute to Mr. Johnson and for working with his wife, Margo Johnson, and his family on its accuracy and information.

WITN | Photo by Saquan Stimpson

How full-time artists make it in Delaware

Delaware Business Times | September 14, 2017 | View full story

Brad Vanneman working on sculpture of Dr. Jerome H. Holland

If you have a figurine of Mickey Mouse or a holiday candle from Bed, Bath & Beyond, you probably own the art of Brad Vanneman, who has been making a living as a contract sculptor for close to four decades.

"I'm willing to do just about anything related to sculpture," he said of how he has stayed busy working for The Franklin Mint (he cold-called for an interview), Lenox and Disney. "By doing what I was offered, I got better." He also worked long hours. "I literally worked night and day when my girls were in high school and college." The flexibility to put in more effort was an important factor in his success.

He also had a wonderful mentor in noted American sculptor Charles Cropper Parks who was local. Vanneman helped Parks as he retired and during that time grew into what he calls a "real sculptor" creating a well-known local piece called "Wisdom Begins with Wonder," which is on display in Smyrna and setting the stage for his current project: a life-size sculpture of Dr. Jerome Holland, former president of Delaware State College.

Asked about keys to success, Vanneman cites the basics: show up on time, meet your deadlines, but added, "Leave your ego at the door and bring your brain to work."

Peggy Mika

Thank You to Artist Brad Vanneman

First Unitarian Church of Wilmington | August 31, 2017 | View full story

Decision statue

Due to concerns that the Charles Parks "Decision" statue could be knocked from its pedestal in the front of the Sanctuary, we investigated ways to stabilize it. We consulted with artist Brad Vanneman who worked with Parks for many years and still dedicates himself to looking after Parks' artwork. Brad recommended anchoring the pedestal to the floor, custom-made straps, and installed the anchoring system at no charge. Brad has also helped the church refinish the Charles Parks front doors to the Sanctuary at no charge. Many years ago the church commissioned 2 sculptures from Brad, the 36" chalice sculpture on the wall of the Sanctuary lobby, and the sundial on the southwest side of the old education wing. As a thank you for Brad's recent work, the church made a donation in his honor to The Delaware Contemporary (formerly the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art) where Brad has one of his studios.

Marina Van Renssen

Salesianum Pays Tribute to our Patron Saint

Salesianum Review | March 29, 2017 | View full story

St. Francis statue

The statue of St. Francis de Sales in the main lobby is a similar remembrance for our patron saint, a different way to represent aspects of his life. Created by local sculptor Brad Vanneman, the statue weighs 560 pounds and measures just over 6′ tall, around 4′ wide, and just under 3′ deep, protruding slightly from the alcove in which it was placed. Mr. Vanneman said this was intentional, with the raised hand meant to stick out and make the statue appear more lifelike. The statue does actually appear to be a real person cast in bronze, with details as small as the lace on St. Francis' robe being faithfully recreated.

In the planning process, Mr. Vanneman left no stone unturned when it came to researching parts of St. Francis' life to incorporate into the statue, communicating with Mrs. Gardner and Father Beretta to find special details. Hidden around the base of the statue are nods to St. Francis' relationship with nature, with a wolf's pawprint tucked away behind the right foot of the statue.

Owen Fink, Staff Writer

Read more about the St. Francis de Sales project on Coda Worx