Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy and Dave Powers, special assistant to President Kennedy, were given the task of selecting a sculptor for President Kennedy’s bust for the Kennedy Library after he left office. The pair took no time in selecting American sculptor Felix De Weldon “America’s Michelangelo”. Mr. De Weldon is perhaps best known for the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington DC and is the only sculptor to have at least one piece of art on all seven continents.
Mr. De Weldon accepted the assignment and had completed two sittings with President Kennedy in the White House. The bust that will be on display at the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff is a “national treasure” according to Isenberg who “hopes people unable to take part in the events downtown will join the tenants of the Bank Tower and see a real piece of history that may never be in Dallas again”.
After the assassination, the bust was moved to the private studios of Felix De Weldon. Mrs. Kennedy felt the urge to come to the studio about two weeks after the assassination and as De Weldon describes “in a very sad moment she pressed her gloved hands to the President’s lips trying to make his lips smile and also touched his hair”.
The work will be unveiled at 9:30 am to the music of the Bishop Dunne High School Marching Band that will be performing “Hail to the Chief”. The work of art will be on display until 7:00 pm and will be under the constant watch of armed guards. Unlike so many of the “official” events, the Bank Tower at Oak Cliff is conducting a community event that is inclusive of all walks of life. The bust joins an exhibit that has already been seen by over 10,000 people and will remain up for several more weeks. Isenberg proudly concludes that the final event of the day is an “immigrant pot luck dinner” that he hopes will be attended by several hundred future Americans. Tours of the JFK exhibit and explanations of the bust will be done in Spanish by the Isenberg Center for Immigration Empowerment (ICIE).