Bucks County


A recently installed sculpture at the Bucks County Visitor Center in Bensalem features the work of Bucks County artist, Selma Burke. The piece at the Visitor Center is entitled "Together" and was originally cast in clay and turned into the resin piece around 1975. The same mold was used to create a bronze relief sculpture that can be seen at the James A. Michener Art Museum. The sculpture represents Burke's popular theme of family, love and unity with a mother and father tenderly holding their child, depicting their strong bond and love for one another. 


Selma Burke was born in North Carolina in December 1900. She discovered her love of sculpture when she began to mold and mend clay from the local riverbed into shapes. Burke began a career as a nurse in New York in 1924, but her love of art propelled her to later be involved in the Harlem Renaissance movement and serve as a sculptor's model while taking art classes. In 1936, Burke won the Boehler Foundation Fellowship that allowed her to move to Europe and study under several painters and sculptors.

Burke won the Fine Arts Commission prize for the District of Columbia in 1943 and was commissioned to create a relief plaque of President Roosevelt's profile; this sculpture would later become the basis for the U.S. dime. Burke eventually opened her own art school called the Selma Burke Art Center in Pittsburgh and another school in New York City called the Selma Burke School of Sculpture. 

In 1947, Burke moved to Bucks County where she worked with the Central Bucks County Chamber of Commerce to create the Bucks County Sculpture Show in Doylestown that is still held today. She also made a bronze sculpture of Bucks County's notable author, Pearl S. Buck, called "Uplift."

Due to her classic realism-like style and her use of several mediums such as wood, stone and bronze, Burke's sculpture work has been very influential in the art world. She lived in an old farm house near New Hope where she sculpted until her death in 1995.