Ever wonder what a difference one decision can make? Just ask Larry Nowlan.
In 1993, the Philadelphia native attended an exhibit of the sculptor Auguste Rodin and immediately became interested in art. He began taking night classes in sculpting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, then moved on to the New York Academy of Art’s Graduate School of Figurative Art.
While still a student, Larry was invited to serve as Artist in Residence at the Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in Cornish, NH, home of one of America’s greatest sculptors. Over the years, he earned several high-profile commissions, including three eight-foot bronze statues that are part of the National Wildland Firefighters Monument at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, and a statue of Jackie Gleason’s Ralph Kramden character at the Port Authority Terminal in Manhattan.
A gallery adjacent to his Vermont studio provided a venue for customers to view and purchase Larry’s art. But being a retailer conflicted with his artistic pursuits. “I figured there had to be a way to market my work that would allow me to spend my time sculpting rather than walking people through a gallery,” he explains.
Larry was selected to create two major sculptures as part of the renovation of the University of Iowa’s 70,000-seat Kinnick Stadium. The project includes a 15-foot likeness of Nile Kinnick, Iowa’s only Heisman Trophy winner, and a 14-foot-wide bas-relief of Kinnick and other team members taken from a game sports photo.
The Kinnick Stadium commission promises to provide Larry with some valuable exposure as well. The University of Iowa plans to film the creation of the Kinnick statues from Larry’s studio work to the scheduled installation and dedication in 2006. Larry will also create bronze desktop replicas for major donors.
Fred worked with Larry on different marketing strategies, including direct mail and a several improvements to his Web site. Fred has also mentored Larry on various business issues, enabling him to maximize his time as both artist and business owner.
“Two years of the job security is rare for a sculptor,” Larry says. “Fred helped with my proposal package, including scheduling and insurance options, to make sure I didn’t overlook anything.”
Fred also helped Larry save some valuable time on what will be a very demanding project schedule. “The university told me that the contract might be ready to sign when I arrived for the announcement ceremony,” Larry recalls. “However, I wanted to go over it with Fred and my attorney before signing. Fred suggested that they send the contract template ahead without the fee schedule so we could review it in advance. That proved to be a great idea; otherwise, the project might have been pushed back by a month.”
And though the Kinnick Stadium project will keep Larry busy, he will continue calling on his SCORE mentor for help and advice. “Sculpting is a unique profession, and I think Fred enjoys the challenge of working with something that’s different,” Larry says. “I’m glad he finds it as intriguing as I do because he is a very thorough, very supportive person to work with. He brings a sense of security to situations that otherwise could be haphazard.”
In 2002, a friend suggested that Larry to contact the local chapter of SCORE. That led to his first meeting with mentor Fred Thomas, and what Larry considers, “one of the better choices I’ve made in my life.”