Frank Hayden: A Mid-Century Sculptor Between Catholicism and the Civil Rights Movement

Sculptor Frank Hayden (1936-1988), a favorite student of and collaborator with Ivan Meštrović, received his MFA from Notre Dame in 1959. The uniqueness of Hayden’s art is defined by his place at the intersection of Catholic faith, the Civil Rights movement, and the combination of modernist aesthetics with solid craftsmanship. A leading African-American mid-century sculptor of the South, Hayden taught for nearly three decades at Southern University. Many of his sculptures, including some of the nation’s first public monuments to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., can still be found in open spaces and churches in southern Louisiana, as well as in public and private collections.

Professor Darius A. Spieth’s research restores attention to the life and work of Frank Hayden. This richly illustrated talk presents a visual overview of the artist’s most important sculptural works – executed in wood, bronze, and fiberglass – from the key decades of his career, ranging from the late 1950s to the late 1980s. Hayden loved his work to be accessible and to serve the public.

This talk, offered in celebration of the University of Notre Dame’s Walk the Walk Week 2020, was generously supported by Percy A. Pierre ’61 and ’63 M.Eng., Hesburgh Trustee of the University of Notre Dame.

January 21, 2020

Art and HistoryStudio ArtReligious ArtMartin Luther King Jr.SculptureNotre DameWalk the WalkBA of NDCatholicismCivil rightsDiversity