Winter 2012/13
and Haugen worked together to
create “Legacy,” the official name
the artist gave to his sculpture, doing
so because of his personal family
heritage with the University of
South Dakota.
On a summer morning in
Sioux Falls, Stalheim, his mother,
father, Cherrington and others
gathered as a crucible was heated in
a furnace at BronzeAge Art Casting.
When the red-hot container full of
2,100-degree molten bronze came
forth from the fire, the room filled with intensity. That feeling
was not lost on Stalheim, who knew this pour, the first of
several, was a true test. Haugen, along with assistant Lisa Myhre,
provided the guidance he needed to reach this step. Using an
engine hoist, Haugen and Myhre manipulated the molten
metal, filling the molds carefully, the bright orange bronze
radiating its fire as the artist looked on.
“It’s nerve-wracking because a mold can break, and then the
bronze will pour out, and we’re out of luck,” said Haugen, who
played a key role assembling the work. “We were glad we didn’t
have any of those issues with Cameron’s work. All the pours
went perfectly.”
Once poured, the bronze was left to set and the ceramic shell
was hammered away from the piece. Those pieces were then
sandblasted, fine-tuned and finally welded together. Later, a
patina was added.
Stalheim’s sister said the artist’s personality kept things in
balance as the process unfolded. “I think he knows he’s talented,
but he has the proper disposition, the personality, a humility
that keeps him honest, keeps him real,” Aukerman said. “You
have to have both the humility and the confidence to truly have
success in the creative arts.”
Stalheim’s stepfather, Dan Nelson ’81, ’89, was part of the
team behind the sculptor’s success, and said he saw his stepson
learn important lessons throughout the process. “He’s got a
vital support system, and I think we’d all agree that while I
care deeply about his feelings, I was the one most likely to say
‘Get to it!’ and I did so because I knew he could succeed,” said
Nelson. “He’s a lot wiser now on the professional side of public
art and all the steps that go into a giant undertaking like this.
This statue will outlive the artist; it’ll outlive us all. It takes a lot
of determination and patience, and that’s all Cameron’s doing.”
Seeing the statue on campus, knowing that bronze will
outlast any administration, teacher, fad or other change,
sank in with Stalheim as time went by. His connection with
the university will forever face onward and leads him to
realize how thankful he is for not only the opportunity, but for
much more than words can say; namely, a confidence to dream
without doubt.
“I did this for a lot of reasons, and while I wasn’t at a lot of
USD games as a student, I have pride. I’m not a real ‘rah-rah’
guy, but I did this sculpture in my own way, and I did it for my
dad, mom, my stepdad and stepmom, my whole family,” he
said. “In many ways, what I was able to accomplish I did for the
faculty of the fine arts program, because they gave me the skills
to display. I thank them for helping to better me. That’s the
reason it’s titled ‘Legacy.’ It feels like it was meant to be.”
Watch video of the making of “Legacy” at
These photos show the process of
building “Legacy”, from casting
the bronze pieces and assembly to
the final installation on campus.
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