Rosie Sandifer’s lifelong love of Brookgreen Gardens began in her childhood. Born in South Carolina, she often wandered the grounds of the renowned sculpture garden which serves as both a haven for wildlife and an outdoor sculpture park. This national treasure, founded in 1931 by Anna and Archer Huntington, was the nation’s first public sculpture garden; today, Brookgreen holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of sculpture by American artists. With work by Horatio Greenaugh (America’s first sculptor), Frederic Remington, Anna Hyatt Huntington, Glenna Goodacre and other distinguished sculptors, the collection is as much a history of American sculpture as a collection.
Though Rosie considers herself a Texan with an Illinois address, her ties to South Carolina’s prestigious Brookgreen Gardens remain strong. And so, she is especially honored to join the ranks of America’s foremost sculptors in Brookgreen’s permanent collection. With its universal theme of childhood, Freedom of Youth , Rosie’s life-size bronze, was purchased in the spring of ’99 by Brookgreen specifically for the Children’s Garden – a gift from a major benefactor – and was installed in the renovated area along with other sculpture selected from the permanent collection. “We’ve had our eye on Rosie’s work for quite some time,” said Brookgreen curator Robin Salmon, “This is an exciting acquisition.”
The design of this much-acclaimed bronze, a young girl swinging on a rope, expresses the essence of a child’s carefree spirit through its sheer simplicity of movement, making it an appealing piece for the Children’s Garden. “As I watched the easy rhythm of my daughter, Jamie, swinging on a rope . . . in our backyard,” Rosie remembers, “I realized a truth . . . the freedom of youth. We adults lose those peaceful and simple moments in our hectic pace of life.”
Over the last ten years Rosie Sandifer has established herself as one of the country’s leading representational sculptors. In 1991, her bronze, Walking the Kids, won the gold medal from the American Artists Professional League; in 1992, she received the National Sculpture Society’s John Cavanaugh Memorial Prize; in 1996, she was made a fellow of the NSS; and now she will be honored in April with the dedication of Freedom of Youth at Brookgreen Gardens. Congratulations to Rosie on this, one of American sculptors’ highest honors.