George E. Gadson

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George E. Gadson
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George Gadson

(1953-08-10) August 10, 1953 (age 70)
Fort Meade, Florida
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • BA
  • MA in in Education
Alma mater
  • Duke University, North Carolina
  • University of Valencia
  • Brewer Christian College
Known forSculpting, Public Art, Photography, Community Artwork, Consulting and Professional Speaking
Notable work
  • The Kicker (1995)
  • The Quarterback (1999)
MovementSocial Entrepreneur
  • Jim Moran Foundation (2019)
  • Art and Visionary Award (2019)

George Gadson (born August 10 1953) is an American artist living and working in Florida.[1]

Early life and education

Florida native George Gadson was born and raised in Fort Meade, Florida. From the small Central town[2] to George and Laura Bush’s White House as the artist commissioned to design a Christmas Ornament for the tree in 2008,[3]he is an artist, sculptor and community advocate [4] who began his career as a banker, eventually owning his own mortgage brokerage firm in Miami.

George Gadson holds a Bachelors of Arts degree from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, 1975. He completed studies at the University of Valencia, Spain and holds a Masters of Arts degree in Education from Brewer Christian College and Graduate School, 2008.[5]

Gadson gained national recognition for his realistic portraits and sculptures of individuals and figures with historical significance to the preservation of Black History. His work is displayed in many venues as Public Art, as well as in the homes and collections of notable celebrities. Recognized as an arts influencer in his community, Gadson is noted for his sports celebrity signature awards.[6] [7] [8] and consulted as a proponent on the business of art, and the development of artists as entrepreneurs. [9] [10] [11]


Working in a variety of mediums Gadson has created bronze relief portrait sculptures of Jim Moran, The Jim Moran Foundation and Founder Bill Darden for Darden Restaurants, Inc. owner of the national restaurant chains Olive Garden and Red Lobster. His public artworks are permanently displayed in numerous locations, including the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the African American Research Library and Cultural Center, the City of Lauderhill, the City of Tamarac, the City of Pompano Beach, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the City of Lauderdale Lakes in Florida.

In 2010, George Gadson, established Art-Turnatives for Building Communities (ABC’s), a non-profit organization based in Broward County, Florida that seeks to bring the arts to communities where access to and participation in various art forms is limited. The ABC’s program seeks to bring back to life the forgotten history found in many communities and capture civic memories through direct hands-on creative experiences such as visual art workshops and community outreach projects. Such efforts are hoped to aid in rebuilding the tangible and intangible characters of the community, bring disparate groups together, create safer neighborhoods, and weave a greater sense of “pride” into the fabric of communities who have lost their identity.[12]

In 2017, Gadson was invited to design and present a sculpture to Baltimore Raven's retired Linebacker National Football League (NFL) Hall of Famer Ray Lewis. [13] Gadson also presented sports signature awards when commissioned by the South Florida Super Bowl Host Committee in 1995 and 1999 when he created two Super Bowl bronze commemorative sculptures aptly named, “The Quarterback” and the “The Kicker,” for each of the NFL Team owners as well as other VIPs.[14]

Public art commissions

In 2016, “SANKOFA MONUMENT” [15]City of Fort Lauderdale, Bronze, 11 FT.

“The Sankofa Bird” on Sistrunk Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL is based on a mythical bird [16] with its feet firmly planted forward and its head turned backwards, a continual reminder to the community, that looking back on your past can help you to always remember through reflection and honor. [17] It is believed to be this wisdom in learning from the past which ensures a strong future. [18] [19]

In 2016, "DR. KATHLEEN COOPER WRIGHT MONUMENT"[20]Fort Lauderdale, FL. Broward County School Board Administration Building, Bronze, 15 FT.

This monument pays tribute to Dr. Kathleen Cooper Wright, trailblazer, educator and civil rights leader. She was the first African American elected to the Broward County School Board and the first African American woman elected to any School Board in the State of Florida.

In 2013 Gadson created and dedicated, “EQUALITY,” a sculpture that incorporates the logo of the Urban League of Broward County (ULBC), [21] representing the organization’s strong commitment to ensuring equality for all people. Life size figures of a three-member family is an integral part of the sculpture. Fabricated in hand-painted aluminum, the work stands approximately 10’ tall and 10’ in diameter and is inscribed on the front and back of the sculpture’s concrete base with a quote that captures the philosophy of the ULBC. It is located in the City of Fort Lauderdale at the Urban League of Broward County.[22]

In 2012, “MANGROVE CANOPY” City of Boynton Beach, FL. - Community Redevelopment Agency

Powder-Coated Stainless Steel Tree Trunk Multi-colored Aluminium Roots and Stained Glass, 10 FT.

With both the park and the surrounding marina playing an important role in the city’s economic and ecological vitality, ”Mangrove Canopy” connects the city’s marina to the downtown and establishes a ‘sense of place’. Other design elements, fabricated in multi-colored stained glass represent the shimmering sun and water’s edge. [23]

In 2010 “YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW” Lauderdale Lakes, FL – Bronze - 15 FT. Wide BY 5 FT. High[24]

This wall sculpture is part of an interactive installation and is comprised of an interactive human sundial, accompanied by the wall sculpture of a world globe, celebrates the one come common element all diverse groups from around the world have in common-Time. On a sunny day, the sun will cast a shadow of the participant, telling the time of day.

In 2006, “TUSKEGEE AIRMAN"[25] African American Research Library and Cultural Center Fort Lauderdale, Florida 15” x 24” x 8” – Bronze In honor of America's first Black fighter pilots, twelve (12) Tuskegee Airmen were honored at the Media and Community Recognition Day as part of the McDonald’s® Air and Sea Show activities on May 3, 2007 at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. As part of the official ceremony, Gadson’s Tuskegee Airman bronze sculpture remains on display permanently as one of the library’s special collection.

In 2006, “LIFT EV'RY VOICE” [26] Florida Memorial University, Miami, FL.-Bronze - 9 FT.

“Lift Ev'ry Voice” memorializes the inaugural singing of the national negro anthem, performed originally in 1900 at Florida Memorial College, as the school was then known. The sculpture takes its name from the National Negro Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” and is written by the brothers James W. and J. Rosamond Johnson. Today it is a permanent work in the lobby of the university’s Lou Rawls Performing Art Center, located now in Miami. Florida Memorial University one of the oldest African American academic centers in Florida, was founded in 1879 as the Florida Baptist Institute in Live Oak, Florida. The National Negro Anthem, “Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing,” written by James W. Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson was performed originally in 1900 by Florida Memorial College Glee Club students.[27]

In 2004, “FAMILY ROOTS” [28] City of Pompano Beach, FL. Bronze, 12 FT. “Family Roots” pays tribute to “preservation of family heritage and identity” in a predominantly African American community. Most residents in the African American community trace most of their roots back to the Bahamas. Location: 520 NW 3rd St, Pompano Beach, FL 33060

In 2003, "C. SPENCER POMPEY"[29] City of Delray Beach, Florida- 2003, Bronze, 30” High

C. Spencer Pompey was an African-American teacher, coach, principal and motivator for more than 40 years. He played a significant role in the civil rights movement when he called upon the NAACP to assign an attorney to help defend black teachers’ case dealing with equal pay and importantly the equalization of facilities which challenged the “separate but equal” concept in Florida. The attorney assigned was Thurgood Marshall who later became the first black Supreme Court Justice.

On Friday, October 17, 2003, the bronze bust of C. Spencer Pompey was unveiled in the commissioned chambers before being relocated to the main lobby of Delray Beach’s City Hall, the permanent home of the sculpture

In 2002, Gadson designed and created public art sculpture, “THE BRIDGE” at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center.

This 12 FT. bronze artwork is fashioned in the shape of a drum and topped with the universal African Adinkra symbol tells a story of the struggles and successes of African American people in their quest for freedom by integration of key issues – education, geography, technology, economic, and culture – all intricately woven into the design.

Fashioned in the shape of a drum and topped with the universal African Adinkra symbol, Gadson’s “Bridge” tells a story of the struggles and successes of the African Americans in their quest for freedom. The drum’s design incorporates the stylized image of the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma, Alabama where Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. led a series of marches that brought media attention to the violence and discrimination that barred blacks from the voting polls. The marches ultimately prompted President Lyndon B. Johnson to introduce a comprehensive voting rights bill to Congress and on August 6, 1965, he signed the Voting Rights Act, which provided federal supervision of voter registration practices, effectively opening the polls to African Americans throughout the South for the first time since the end of Reconstruction. [30]

The Edmund Pettus Bridge was declared a National Historic Landmark on March 11, 2013 [31] Incorporating the Library’s strategic plan and key issues – geography, technology, economic, education and culture elements have all been intricately woven into the design. A geographic bridge connects the historically black community in Broward to the newly revitalized downtown Fort Lauderdale; a technological bridge of access to the new computer-oriented 21st century; an economic bridge offering services for small community business; an education bridge providing lifelong learning to people of all age; and finally, there is a bridge of culture that celebrates art, dance, theatre and literature. Completing the monument is the Adinkra symbol DWENNIMMEN placed atop the drum. It is a symbol of the Ashanti people of Ghana, Africa representing humility, strength, wisdom and learning.

In 2000, “BLANCHE ELY" [32]-Ely Education Foundation Pompano Beach, Florida,

Bronze 15” High

Ahead of her time, the principal of Ely High school in Pompano Beach in the 1930s, Dr. Blanche Ely, a Colombia-educated black woman, represented to the Pompano Beach community, pioneering strength and trend-setting hope. This artwork is the artist’s representation of a local hero who left the Pompano Beach community enamored and emblazoned with pride for her teachings to this day, her messages have traveled through the century. The bust is a gift to the Blanche Ely Museum in Pompano Beach which reopened in September 2019. [33]


In January 2020, “Roots of the Spirit Exhibition,” As one of five artists exhibited, Gadson premiered three new, never-before-seen artworks, under the curatorial direction of Ludlow E. Bailey. This multi-media presentation, the largest exhibition of African Diaspora artwork in Broward County ever, was a collaboration with the Miramar Cultural Trust[34]

In 2019, “About Faces,” a solo exhibition by artist George Gadson premiered in September at The Sunrise Civic Center Art Gallery, as an exhibition of photography and sculpture focused on the human countenance.

The opening included a Book Signing for the artist’s publication, "Art Psalms," a collection of the Gadson’s work expressed through his poetry.[35]

In 2015 the works of George Gadson, John Paul Goncalves and Darren Johnson were exhibited the Fort Lauderdale Home Design and Remodeling Show “At Home with Art” — an art exhibit, showcasing 18 Broward artists in varying mediums including sculptures, paintings, and digital art. The artist’s work highlighted multiple mediums in materials such as found objects, paintings, photography and sculpture, all converging together forming a cohesive theme centered on nature and humanity.[36]

In 2014, the solo exhibition “Naturally Morphic,” premiered at the Sunrise Civic Center in Sunrise Florida, featured Gadson’s unique collection of sculptures, photographs and other work in more than 25 artworks, where natural occurrences, found objects and organic materials are all part of the artistic process.

“"My vision is for people to experience art with uncommon and common things," he said. "Photography of course can be straightforward, but the photographs themselves have symbolism. For example, I took a picture of the nameplate of a headstone that was in an old cemetery. It's part wood and going from it was an actual live plant. So there is the whole concept of dead and alive," said the artist [37]

Honors and awards

In 2018, Gadson was honored with a $100,000 check awarded to his not-for-profit ArtTurnatives for Building Communities (ABCs), by The Jim Moran Foundation in recognition of service to his community, and his work with underserved neighborhoods, and for his work with children.

In honor of Black History Month, February 2019, Gadson received a proclamation for Community Involvement, under the nomination of the City of Tamarac, Mayor Michelle J. Gomez. Gadson and his wife Phyllis have been residents of the City of Tamarac for more than 15 years. [38]

In August 2019 Gadson received reputable recognition by ArtServe, Fort Lauderdale, as one of South Florida’s most respected influencers for his contribution to the region’s landscape in the Arts & Culture Visionary Award.[39]

Art market

In 2016, George Gadson completed two public artwork commissions, "Sankofa Monument" installed at a completed commission of $150,000 and "The Kathleen Cooper Wright Monument, "installed as a completed commission of $120,000. In a 20 year+ public artwork career, Gadson's public artwork commissions have totaled in excess of $1 million, and are installed throughout South Florida, from Miami-Dade through Palm Beach Counties.[40]


In 2016 Gadson was interviewed on 'Broadcast in Entrepreneur' for his expertise on time management for artists. [41]

He has also been featured as the guest speak for Art in Black Miami in 2019, as a businessman and artist, who has managed to combine and nurture art and business, for this event hosted by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, committed to promoting the creative influences of African Diaspora, Caribbean influences, Latin Americans and global artists who contribute to the fabric of Miami’s historic and diverse artistic community. The event, held at Dolphins Stadium in Miami, showcased Gadson as past Superbowl Commissioned sculptor, along with Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, during Art Basel’s opening weekend, in a year that looked ahead to Super Bowl Miami 2020. [42]

In 2016, #HotboxArt #SiteAttack was created by Reva Development Corp, to bring public art to an under-served community during an interim period prior to the eventual building of a rehabilitation project to develop art studios for neighborhood artists. In the end, public art and flower boxes came back to Northwest Historic District, West Palm Beach, FL. George Gadson facilitated the art and implementation of the initiative.[43]

In the media



  1. “An Artistic Celebration of Community, ArtHive Magazine, Contributing Writer Renowned South Florida Artist George Gadson
  2. |FortMeade, Humble Beginnings, Outhouses and Small Towns“Expression,” South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Feb. 18, 2006, Reporter, Writer Liz Doup
  3. “Artist Created White House Ornament,” South Florida Sun Sentinel, May 12, 2009, Reporter Tessa Metayer
  4. George Gadson Community Advocate“Artist George Gadson Shares Shoes with Habitat for Humanity,”, June 14, 2019
  5. “Artist George Gadson Receives Arts and Culture Visionary Award,”, August23, 2019
  6. Hot Box Art Talks Night, “Looking for Arts Funding,” PureHoney Magazine, Feb. 17, 2017
  7. Arts and Sports Signature Awards Artist “The Artist and the Linebacker” WestSide Gazette, August 23, 2018
  8. “ArtServe's VIP preview kicks off 'reimagined' season by honoring arts influencers”, MSN News, By Kari Barnett, Sun Sentinel, September 12, 2019
  9. “The Artist As An Entrepreneur,” International Opulence MagazineBy Rafael Cruz, Regional Director, SBDC Fort Lauderdale
  11. “The Business of Art” Florida Trend Magazine, August 1, 2007, Writer Barbara Miracle
  12. Art Turnatives for Building Communities Filed as Non-Profit, Jan. 28, 2010 "I use a lot of color when I use oil, and I love to show people with deep expressions and feelings on their faces," said Gadson. <ref> ART OF EXPRESSION EMOTIONS FILL GEORGE GADSON'S CANVAS, Sun-Sentinel Report, LYDA LONGA story.html?int=lat_digitaladshouse_bx-modal_acquisition-subscriber_ngux_display-ad-interstitial_bx-bonus-story______
  13. George Gadson and Ray Lewis, of-famer-ray-lewis
  14. Kicker and Quarterback and Signature Awards City of Tamarac Website
  15. “Lauderdale to spend $150,000 on avian statue” by By LARRY BARSZEWSKI, SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL | JUN 16, 2015 20150616-story.html
  16. Lauderdale to spend $150,000 on avian statue Larry Barszewski Contact Reporter South Florida Sun-Sentinel
  17. George Gadson presents the Sistrunk Historical Monument
  18. “Statue Merges Past and Present,” SFLTimes, March 13, 2016
  19. “Trailblazers of Broward County” The WestSide Gazette, April 5, 2016
  20. South Florida Artist George Gadson,
  21. “National Urban League Conference Draws 13,000 Attendees and Leaves Notable “Gifts” to Local Community” August 3, 2015 | Alicia Brown leaves-notable-gifts-local
  22. Urban League of Broward County Unveils New Building Name at First Anniversary Celebration Broward County Commission, News Release
  23. The Palm Beach Post, August 12, 2016
  24. “At Lauderdale Lakes library, art that reflects what we have in common” Gregory Lewis, Sun Sentinel, July 16, 2010
  25. May 4, 2006, “Heroes Flying High”, Sun-Sentinel, Gregory Lewis, Staff Writer
  26. “Master of Art Making a Profit.” South Florida Times January 8, 2019
  27. South Florida
  29. Pompey,, May 6, 2010, “Who is George Gadson” george-gadson-&catid=1%3Alatest-news&Itemid=1
  30. The Bridge,
  31. Edmund Pettus Bridge: now-a-historic-landmark/. Title: Edmund Pettus Bridge now a historic landmark, Selma Times Journal, Staff Report, March 11, 2013
  32. “George and Blanche Meet Again” La Familia de Broward
  33. “George and Blanche Meet Again” Westside Gazette, Writer, Carma Henry, April 18, 2019,
  34. Artserve Presents Roots of the Spirit,” GF Alliance, Dec. 10, 2019
  35. George Gadson Opens “About Faces Exhibition,” Broadway World, NewsDesk, Sept. 4, 2019.
  36. “At Home with Art,”Miami Art Guide, Oct. 23, 2015
  37. “Exhibit Features Wide Array of Artistic Creations, South Florida Sun-Sentinel,” by Scott Fishman, Oct. 9, 2014
  38. Tamarac Honors Five During Black History Month, PRESS RELEASE UPDATED: FEB 9, 2019
  40. South Florida Artist George Gadson,
  41. “Time Managing the Artist” with George Gadson, Regalpoete Broadcast, 2016 gadsonwas featured on
  42. “Showcasing Artists During Art Basel,” Gadson Featured Speaker Art of Black Miami Event, Miami Times, Nov. 27, 2019 1116-11ea-bd0d-175c9df485ea.html
  43. HotBox Art Site Attack The Historic Northwest District, West Palm Beach

External links

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