How an Italian sculptor shaped the aesthetic of Lansing

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Look up! You might just notice an ornamental architectural fixture crafted by noted sculptor Corrado Parducci, who completed 13 installations in the Lansing area during the ’30s, ’50s and ’60s in Lansing. Parducci’s work can be seen at Michigan Bell, on the campus of Michigan State University, the Capitol Area District Library downtown main branch, several churches and Michigan National Bank Tower (Boji).

The Historical Society of Greater Lansing is hosting Dale A. Carlson, photographer and architectural historian, for a Dec. 9 program at the Robin Theatre in REO Town. Carlson will discuss Lansing’s Parducci installations and his work statewide, including notable work in Detroit at the Guardian Building, the Buhl and the Penobscot.

Carlson is also the author of “Corrado Parducci: A Field Guide to Detroit’s Architectural Sculpture.” The book will be for sale at the event for $20.

The author studied art, journalism and graphic design at four Michigan colleges — including Michigan State University — and has an associate’s degree in photographic technology from Oakland Community College. He also serves on the City of Berkley’s Historical Committee, and is working on a field guide on the work of the notable architect Albert Kahn, which will be published soon.

Carlson, who spends a lot of time in New Orleans is working on a book on stained glass in the Big Easy.

In addition to his work on the Boji Tower, Parducci, who immigrated to the United States in 1904, completed the well-known installations at Sexton High School, including “Punch and Judy.” His work can also be seen at six Lansing churches: Central United Methodist, Grace Lutheran, Pilgrim Congregational, St. Paul’s Episcopal, First Baptist Church (Christ Community) and Christ United Methodist.

Parducci worked in a variety of styles, including Aztec, but is best remembered for his Greco-Deco ornamental style. He completed installations on more than 600 structures across the United States throughout his career.

Prior to the Parducci program, which is free, the historical society will hold an election of officers and trustees beginning at 6:30 p.m.

(The writer is the president of the Historical Society of Greater Lansing and  a regular contributor to City Pulse.)

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