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Artists of Baton Rouge: Frank Hayden

Learn about the artists of Baton Rouge

Frank Hayden

Sculptor Frank Hayden is best known for his large, abstract representations of the human body that can be seen in sculptures around the world.  Hayden was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee on June 10, 1934.  Although he was never trained in the arts as a child he was believed to have great potential when he started his Bachelors degree at Xavier University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He later went on to get his Masters in Fine arts at University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.  During his time at Notre Dame, Hayden studied under the famous Yugoslavian sculptor Ivan Mestrovic who he credited as being an inspiration for his work.  Upon completion of his MFA, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for one year of study at the Munich Art Academy in what was once West Germany.    

Hayden returned to Louisiana with his wife and children in 1961 to teach at Southern University in Baton Rouge.  Among the courses taught by Hayden were drawing, sculpture, aesthetics, and art appreciation.  While teaching he was also creating art that would be disseminated throughout the world, including receiving a commission from the Catholic Church to present a piece to Pope John Paul II to commemorate his visit to New Orleans, and was given on behalf of all Black Catholics in the United States.  Many of Hayden's works were inspired by morality and religion

Some of Hayden's more notable sculptures can be found in various areas of Baton Rouge, Louisiana and in New Orleans, Louisiana.  For the Baton Rouge Bicentennial, Hayden was commissioned to design two sculptures to be displayed Downtown.  The "Marche de Galvez" sculpture and "The Tribute to Oliver Pollack" can be found in front of the Old State Capital Building in Galvez Plaza in Downtown Baton Rouge.  The sculptures were created to commemorate the 1976 Bicentennial of Baton Rouge.  "Marche de Galvez"  has a poem embedded within by Julien Poydras called, "La prise du morne du Baton Rouge par Monseigneur de Galvez." The "Tribute to Oliver Pollock" honored the namesake of the sculpture who was a representative for Spanish Louisiana in the Continental Congress and also credited with the creation of the American dollar sign,"$."

Hayden was awarded the title of first distinguished professor at Southern University in 1985.  In 1987, a year before his death, he was awarded and honorary doctorate in humanities from Madonna College of Livonia, Michigan.  Hayden was tragically killed in 1988 by his son, Frank Hayden III while sleeping on his couch.  

Frank Hayden Art and News

Frank Hayden

Baton Rouge Bicentennial

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