Local Artist Carves History

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Local Artist Carves History
Isaiah Rashad Creates Monument in Olean, NY
By Kerra Trivieri

 

   Buffalo-born Isaiah Rashad II, now Bemus Point resident, has made a name for himself all over Western New York, but did not find his true passion until later in life. From joining the Army and returning back home to serve as a State Trooper to teaching as an assistant professor at Erie Community College and everything in between, Rashad has accomplished many goals and worked through many challenges throughout each of these notable milestones.

   Today, he is able to add writer and stone carver to his resume, which continues to grow with the beautiful works he has completed over the last seven years. Interestingly enough, too, it all started at the age of 35.

   “I discovered my passion for stone carving when my grandmother died,” said Rashad. “My family was pressuring me to buy her gravestone. After learning the high cost of gravestones, I instead decided to make it myself to honor her.”

   From there, Rashad fell in love with stone carving, quit his job, and decided to make it his full-time profession. His most recent project, the “Silent Policeman,” started as a collaborative idea with The Rotary Club of Olean, led by Mary Kay Worth.

   “I got involved with The Rotary while doing a presentation at Chautauqua Institute,” Rashad said. “One of the leading Rotarians liked my work and shortly after the presentation asked me to carve this monument instead of having a blasting company do it. They wanted an artist’s touch, not a machine.”

   The Silent Policeman, nearly completed, pays homage to the original statue, which stood during the 1920s and 1930s. It is comprised of New York bluestone, while its top cap is an 18-inch bronze rotary wheel. In total, including the base, the statue stands 8.6 feet high and 3 feet wide.

   “There are only four hours of carving remaining for the monument to be complete,” Rashad added. “It has been a long, yet exciting journey into history.”

   During Rashad’s time carving and creating this masterpiece, citizens from all over the country came to see him at work and even learn how to carve into the stone. Because of this special project, the Rotary’s member count has grown and the general public has truly loved that an artist was doing the project.

   The Silent Policeman monument can be visited at the intersection of East State Street and South Union Street in the city of Olean, NY.

   Additionally, Rashad is currently creating architectural designs and several life-size statues. For custom stone work, he can be contacted at irashad.carver@gmail.com or 716-800-7211.

Isaiah Rashad working on ‘The Silent Policeman” for the Rotary of Olean. Rashad is one of only 14 professional stone carvers left in the United States that carves with hammers and chisels.