Buchy Bench to be dedicated Oct. 6


By Ryan Berry


GREENVILLE — The Darke County Art Trail will honor Jim Buchy on Oct. 6 when the “Buchy Bench” is unveiled. Several special guests have announced their intentions to attend, including Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted.

The event will take place along the Buchy Mile of the Tecumseh Trail bike and walking/running path. The Buchy Mile is located in the area where the Buchy Packing House once stood across from the Garst Museum off of North Broadway in Greenville.

There will be a community social at 3:30 p.m. with the dedication at 4 p.m.

Buchy is an icon in West Central Ohio and especially in his hometown, Greenville. When asked if he would be willing to allow the statue, he said he took the request to his family. “When my kids said do it, do it now before they decide not to do it,” he said.

Roger Van Frank, director of the DCP, said, “I can’t think of a more deserving person to receive such an honor than Mr. Buchy. I have known Jim for almost 40 years, and he is the most dedicated of public servants.”

Andrea Jordan, executive director of DCCA, echoed the praise, “As patrons and supporters of DCCA Jim & Sharon Buchy shared their commitment to the importance of the arts in our community, which continued through Jim’s work in the Ohio House of Representatives.”

Buchy served 24 years in the Ohio House of Representatives, but he got his start in serving the community closer to home. In the early 1980s, he was appointed to the Greenville City Schools Board of Education. He later was one of the top two vote-getters to earn a term on the board. The work he did to help balance the district’s budget was noticed by Bob Netzley, a long-time state representative who had served Darke County prior to the early 1980s. When re-districting occurred, Netzley encouraged Buchy to run. He did and beat out two others in the primary and then won the general election to serve his first of 12 terms.

Even though it has been a few years since Buchy was fighting for West Central Ohio residents on the house floor, he continues to fight in other ways. It’s the people that live in the stretch from Van Wert County to Butler County that mean the most to Buchy. “In my opinion, there’s no better place to live in the world than West Central Ohio. We’re agricultural based, we’re family based and we still have a high percentage of people that go to church. We believe in God and we have the best schools. We have the best place to live.”

Jordan shared, “The Buchy Bench is an art installation and sculpture meant to inspire hope while standing in quite reflection of remembering the past, recognizing the goodness and beauty around us, and striving to work together towards a brighter future.”

The “Buchy Bench” was created by local artist Joshua Shepherd. Getting the likeness of the individual is important, but the sculptor said capturing the subject’s personality is just as important. Although most of the likenesses he has captured over the years are no longer around, he was able to get a good understanding of Buchy’s personality as he was taking photographs and getting measurements. “I’ve met Mr. Buchy on a couple of occasions, and he’s always struck me as warm, engaging and intelligent. But he also has a whimsical sense of humor that doesn’t stay hidden very long.” He previously said, “Capturing that personality in bronze is what I’m looking forward to. He’s what they referred to in the old days as a ‘consummate gentleman.’”

Shepherd lives in rural Randolph County, Ind. with his wife, Lora, and five children. He said he fell backward into the sculpting profession after he graduated from high school. “It was entirely providential,” he said. “I started sculpting simply as a hobby after high school and thankfully fell backwards into full time work.” He has been a full-time sculptor since 2000. Even more amazing is that Shepherd has no formal training in art. “It was a hobby that took off into a career,” he added.

While he has several pieces in Darke and Randolph counties, Shepherd’s artwork can be found across the country. He has sculptures of veterans from the Civil War to Iraq, including a female veteran’s memorial, as well as a firefighter sculpture. His works can be found in Texas, Virginia, Minnesota, Wisconsin, West Virginian, Illinois, South Dakota and Louisianna. Some of his most unique sculptures can be found in Dunedin, Fla., but you can’t get to them by car. The Circle of Heroes sculptures of veterans are located in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Dunedin.

In addition to the Buchy Bench and Tecumseh statue, Shepherd’s work can be seen in the Greenville City Park. He created the Little Turtle statue that sits on the island that welcomes visitors to the park.

The Art Trail Committee is currently choosing the artist who will produce a new installation at Historic Bear’s Mill and will soon put out a call to artists for a planned work of art to adorn Bish Nature Center; both of these additions will be in place before June 30 of next year. A new map citing expanded attractions currently included on the Art Trail will be available for distribution at the unveiling of the Buchy Bench, offering tourists and local residents an opportunity for further exploration of accessible art in our community.

The Buchy Bench addition to the Darke County Art Trail is a shining gem as DCCA presents its 45th “Sapphire Celebration Season”. The non-profit county arts council strives to provide outstanding arts experiences throughout Darke County continuing its mission of making all arts accessible and helping make our community a great place to live. Find out more about DCCA, DCP, and the Darke County Art Trail at DarkeCountyArts.org and DarkeCountyParks.org.

To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].

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