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Ray Kobald
1931 -   Class of 2006  Visual Arts
Ray Kobald is the first sculptor from Illinois to be invited to have his work included in the prestigious group of nationally known sculptures in the annual Sculpture in the Park outdoor juried exhibition at the Benson Sculpture Garden in Loveland, Colorado. His piece, “Star Gazer,” was selected to join 180 entries from around the world to be exhibited in this internationally acclaimed show.

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Born in Chicago in 1931, Ray moved to St. Charles with his family when he was just 18 months old. He attended St. Charles Public Schools, graduating in 1949 as president of his senior class. Fifty-three years later, in 2002, he was named a Distinguished Alumni of St. Charles High School. An Eagle Scout, he went on to serve in the United State Air Force until 1955 with the Strategic Air Command in Nebraska. He married Phyllis Troop in 1953, and together, they became the parents of seven children.

When he was young, Ray developed an interest in the American west and, in particular, Native American culture and tradition. Many of Ray’s paintings, sculptures, and executions in mixed media reflect this interest. His works have been recognized for their skillfulness, and can be found in galleries and public displays throughout the western United States. In the summer of 2005, his one-man show in Geneva, Illlinois, “Silent Entry,” exclusively featured sculptures inspired by Native cultures.

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With a Native American influence, Ray’s seven-foot tall fisherman sculpture entitled “From the Waters Comes My Bounty” won the Bronze Foundry/Field Project sculpture competition. It was crafted for placement at the dam in Oregon, Illinois, across from the famed statue of Blackhawk by Lorado Taft.

Ray is a committed resident of St. Charles, as evidenced by his contributions to the St. Charles Art Commission and the St. Charles Downtown Partnership, as well as his membership in the local Kiwanis Club. His sculpture, “Keep Your Balance,” is housed at the St. Charles Library, and his famed life-size rendition of Colonel Edward Baker sits at the entrance to the historic Baker Hotel. Additional public installations of his sculptures may be found locally in Geneva, Illinois. In 2000, his sculpture, “The Visionary,” won Best of Show at the Windy City Arts Show in Chicago.

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The life-size bronze sculpture of Colonel Edward Baker was a departure for Ray Kobald, who was better known for his Southwestern inspired bronzes, paintings, mixed-media works and whimsical sculptures.

Ray Kobald has been teaching, sharing, and inspiring generations through his art. In addition to sculpture, he is a master craftsman in woodwork, designing and making furniture. His friend and Fox Valley Arts Hall of Fame inductee in 2004, Stan Jorstad, describes Ray’s work in these words, “Through his many and diverse public installations and exhibits, the viewer is provoked into thought. If the piece is of an historically significant character, the reality of expression, hand positioning, body language, all help to tell the story of the individual. It is proven that learning is more effective when we are visually stimulated. His life-size bronze sculptures are powerful. No matter the subject, the work cannot be ignored. It stirs thought, can go deep into your soul, nudging our sub-conscious.”  

Visit Ray Kobald’s website at: www.raykobald.com
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 First Illinois sculptor included in annual Sculpture in the