The formal dedication for the elaborate “East Meets West” statue at Cyrus Avery Route 66 Centennial Plaza in Tulsa is scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, according to a news release Friday from the City of Tulsa.
I’ve been told about 30 descendants of Cyrus Avery, the Father of Route 66, are expected at the event.
“East Meets West” depicts Avery stopping his early model Ford on the 11th Street Bridge after his vehicle spooked two horses pulling a wagon coming from west Tulsa’s oil fields. The statue also portrays Avery’s wife Essie, his daughter Helen, and the family cat.
By coincidence, I went to Avery Centennial Plaza on Friday to check the statue’s progress. Workers had labored the previous weekend to weld and hoist the statue’s pieces into place. The day I arrived, city contractors were erecting concrete barriers at the plaza’s edge, next to Southwest Boulevard (aka Route 66).
I shot dozens of photographs of the “East Meets West” statue. I was stunned by its detail, as I’m sure you will be. Sculptor Robert Summers‘ work included the wood grain in the wagon, the Firestone brand on the car’s tires, gauges on the Ford’s dashboard, the texture of the leather of Avery’s footwear, the nails on the horses’ shoes, and even a smashed grasshopper stuck on the Ford’s radiator grille.
Here’s a slide show of the “East Meets West” photos. Go here if you’re unable to see the slide show on this page.
The 135 percent-size sculpture encountered cost overruns and three years of delays, including Summers sustaining serious injuries in a fall. Regardless, “East Meets West” is a truly exceptional art piece.