SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Many have seen and admired the World War II memorial that sits on River Street in downtown Savannah, but few know the story behind it.
The artist behind the memorial is a renowned sculptor who has done commissioned work for the likes of former President Donald Trump, in addition to major hotels and casinos.
Kim Brandell has sculpted six different globes around the country, including the one in Savannah.
“It wasn’t just a globe, it was a memorial,” he added.
The memorial honors soldiers who fought for liberty and justice, much like Brandell’s dad who flew P-51s in WWII.
The piece is extraordinary at first glance. “It’s just these subtle design features that really make this dramatic,” said Brandell.
It’s also very meaningful for him and the community.
“This one had a lot of symbolism, you know, a lot of reasoning behind it,” said Brandell. “There was a whole group of people involved with the fundraising and making it happen at this location.”
Back in 2010, Brandell was contacted by the late Eric Meyerhoff, who many know as the architect of River Street.
Meyerhoff spent years drawing up the globe’s design and wanted Brandell to bring it to life. Brandell said it took over six months and an eight-person crew, but he made it happen.
“When there are projects like this that are more public commissioned pieces, it’s really nice to come back decades later and walk around them and feel good,” said Brandell. “It almost looks like new.”
Brandell has designed several others globes around the country. One is famously located in Manhattan, New York, that he says was commissioned by Trump.
The sculptor says the globe has an extensive inner structural skeleton, and it’s clad in sheet copper with melted bronze.
“It was labor intensive,” he said.
Brandell didn’t sign the World War II sculpture as he has with other works. He’s hoping the committee that fundraised for the memorial will put up a plaque crediting both him and Meyerhoff.