MINNEAPOLIS -- The family and friends of Chicago sculptor Pat McDonald are working to bring his final piece of art back to his native Watertown.
The late artist had a passion for building large scale sculptures for outdoor public display, and his final work "Davinci's Wings" is no exception. It weighs 10,000 pounds and is 13 feet tall.
He built it in a farm studio near Watertown, and installed it in Lincoln Park in Chicago. McDonald's mother, Abigail, has spearheaded the effort to transplant the sculpture from the Windy City to the small town on the banks of the Crow River 30 miles west of Minneapolis.
"I’ve had a lot of help from my family, and all my nieces and nephews have helped pitch in with this project," Abigail McDonald told KARE.
On Sunday more than 100 people crowded into a supper club in Watertown to take part in a fundraiser to help defray the expenses, which are expected to exceed $50,000.
"Pat would always have a crew of guys around him and we'd build sculptures with him," the artist's brother Bill McDonald told KARE.
"This is just one way to just bring him home and keep him around."
McDonald worked as a construction contractor, but had a masters degree in fine art. His passion for art is reflected in the elaborate steel and concrete structures on display in Illinois and on the east coast.
His personality was also larger than life, according to his family.
"Some would say he was a little like a tornado," Abigail McDonald explained.
"We used to always say, 'Oh Pat's coming! Get ready!' He wanted to do things fast, loud and very active."
Pat McDonald died in 2015 from complications of a construction accident, leaving behind a wife and 11-year-old son in Oak Park, IL. It was their idea to return his final work to the place where he grew up, and first became interested in drawing.
The Watertown City Council has authorized the project and is helping pay for part of the costs. The local Lion's Club made a generous donation to the effort.
The family has created a Go Fund Me site dedicated to the cause, and the Bremer Bank of Watertown is also accepting contributions.