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Renowned Sculptor Creating Work for African American Firefighters Museum

By David Markland
Published: Tuesday, October 19, 2010, at 11:02AM
Arnett Hartsfield, Sketch by Artis Lane Artis Lane

Sketch of Arnett Hartsfield

Retired fireman Arnett Hartsfield, 92, will be honored with a sculpture at the African American Firefighters Museum. Renowned artist Artis Lane has been commissioned to create the work, which is scheduled to be unveiled next year.

A motion before the the Community Redevelopment Agency board on Thursday would allocate $25,000 from a redevelopment project tax fund to go to the California Artist Coalition of Los Angeles, which is overseeing the project. The group will also be expected to raise an addition $50,000 for project coordination and an additional $67,000 for a companion mural.

Hartsfield, a decorated World War II soldier, served with the Los Angeles Fire Department from 1940 to 1961. Due to his race, he was never promoted, earning him the nickname "the eternal rookie." However, during his firefighting tenure Hartsfield attended both UCLA and USC, eventually earning a law degree. Earlier this year he was feted by the LAFD as Honorary Fire Chief for a day.

Hartsfield's likeness will be recreated with a 17-inch-high bust that will be displayed in a public courtyard at the museum, which is housed at Old Station 30 at 1401 S. Central, where he used to serve.

Sculptor Artis Lane previously created works of Sojourner Truth in Washington DC, and of Rosa Parks at the Smithsonian.

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