Your life is a book and every day is a page,
and one day that book will be read to you
and you can’t deny it because you’ve written it.

                                                                        - Elijah Pierce  

Elijah Pierce was a renowned master woodcarver, a humble barber, and a beloved lay minister.  As a woodcarver, he was one of the great American traditional and self-taught artists of the century. 

Elijah Pierce moved to Columbus in 1923, where he lived and worked for 60 years until his death May 7, 1984.  His homes and barbershops were located in neighborhoods on Columbus’ near east side.  The two-room shop that he built in 1954 at 534 East Long St. also served as a gallery to display his carvings. 

In the fall of 2000, Columbus State Community College erected bronze statue of Elijah Pierce on the NE corner of Long and Washington streets.  The statue itself is 10 feet tall and sits on two 8” risers for an overall height of 11 feet, 4 inches.  The sculptor is Steven Weitzman of Weitzman Studios, Inc. in Brentwood, Maryland. 

It is our hope that this statue will honor and keep alive the memory of Elijah Pierce and that many people will come to know and understand his remarkable contributions to our community and the world of folk art.

About the Sculptor of the Statue

Steve Weitzman, 48, was born in New York City.  At age 19, he began a successful career as a freelance illustrator and painter in Boulder, Colorado.  During the next 12 years, he received numerous design awards for his work as a graphic artist and figurative sculptor.  In 1983, his work as a sculptor expanded to include large-scale public art.

Weitzman garnered international recognition in 1985, when the sculpture he created for the United Nations was dedicated during a ceremony celebrating the United Nations’ fortieth anniversary.  In 1988, he was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution to create a 30’ sculpture for the National Zoo, in Washington, D.C.  This sculpture stands at the entrance to the National Zoo and is one of the largest wood sculptures in the Smithsonian Institution’s collection.

Steve Weitzman has created over twenty large-scale figurative sculptures for cities and municipalities throughout the United States and has recently installed twenty-four 20’ x 34’ bas-relief murals for the City of Wichita, Kansas. 

Weitzman studied photographs of Elijah Pierce, his writings, and his art in order to capture his “essence” in a pose.  Because Pierce was a deeply religious man, Weitzman chose to depict Pierce deep in concentration, carving with his hands cupped around his work as if praying.