W.F. West Class of 1963 graduate Jerry Spady has made a special contribution to the school and students in the form of an original work of art.
Entitled, “Homage to the Sciences,” the large sculpture includes detailed components from Biology, Genetics, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Molecular Genetics, Earth, and Space sciences.
Spady was inspired to create the work for W.F. West after he learned about the district’s new STEM wing, with its state-of-the-art equipment and laboratories for high school students. As a W.F. West graduate who was a scientist himself (Spady has a PhD in biochemical science), he is uniquely qualified to articulate this artistic work honoring the sciences.
Spady created the nearly eight-foot sculpture from a special wood product called Fine ply, which he invented through years of woodworking and experimentation. The material allows Spady to create shapes that previously were not possible in woodworking.
The artwork took six months to create as it features intricate details that Spady carefully planned out, representing scientific concepts with an artistic flair. For example, a DNA molecule, a central focus of the artwork, includes more than 500 individual pieces of wood connected together. Another part of the sculpture features the colors of the Aurora Borealis.
Other components of the artwork are: a black hole, Pi (which runs through the entire artwork), Fibonacci sequence, and significant engineering architecture.
“I love science and the beauty of it,” said Spady. “I try to make beautiful things out of wood and this was a great opportunity to marry art and science.”
Spady now lives in Tennessee but visited W.F. West in June to deliver and install the artwork at W.F. West, where it will be displayed in the school’s library.