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A Salute to George Ramsay

The ACWL-Nuveen would like to acknowledge a passing of note – the artist/sculptor George

Ramsay who created the iconic White Lake sculpture – Sailboat/Trees, died on August 31st at the age of 87. In his obituary posted in the Dayton Daily News - it states, “George will be remembered for his intellect, humor, and creative abilities”. Mr. Ramsay’s career included a tenured faculty position at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, where he taught art for 30 years and maintained his studio practice making public art. He was the recipient of three National Endowment for the Arts awards for public art and has notable installations in Springfield, Columbus, and Clark County, Ohio.


George on Fritz Lydens's sailboat on White Lake.

For residents and visitors to White Lake, Mr. Ramsay left his sculptural legacy - Sailboat/Trees. The sculpture which was conceived in 2008 took a full-scale effort on the part of ACWL’s Art Walk committee and Mr. Ramsay to fund, engineer, fabricate and finally install in 2010. The 22’ high aluminum and steel Sailboat/Trees was a milestone for the council and was intended to mark the ACWL-Nuveen’s

25th anniversary and enhance the Art Walk trail. For Mr. Ramsay, who split his time between Arizona and Michigan, spending his summers in Montague, Sailboat/Trees was his gift to the community he loved.


George at the 2010 dedication of 'Sailboat/Trees'.

Thinking like a true sculptor he envisioned his installation from all angles and saw his artwork as kinetic. He chose the prominent location at Covell Park because of the intersection of White River and White Lake, the Hart- Montague trail, and the causeway. He wanted Sailboat/Trees to be regarded by passengers as they drove the causeway, pedestrians as they walked or cycled the trail, and people in boats. In his artist statement from 2009 Mr. Ramsay states, “ The artwork was created from two of the White Lake areas main visual elements. Sailboats, with their tall masts, languish in marinas all around White Lake. Trees, with their tall trunks, also surround White Lake”. He continues, “Sailboats and trees also share a common overall silhouette. Viewed from the Whitehall side the primary colors and stripes of sailboats is evident, from the Montague side, stems and leaf forms invoke trees”.


The ACWL-Nuveen would like to express our gratitude to George Ramsay for his lasting artistic vision and our condolences to his family and many friends. We also want the community to know that our current Art Walk committee is dedicated to maintaining the sculptural integrity of Sailboat/Trees for the future. If you would like to get involved with the Art Walk committee or donate to the maintenance fund for Sailboat/Trees, please call us at (231) 893-2524 or email nuveen@artswhitelake.org.

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