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St. John’s art teacher of 30 years, Martin Delabano, wrote a touching personal blog post on February 11 that made such an impact that it was picked up by the Dallas Morning News. In it, he describes a moment of inspiration that moved him to include a Café Vienna tin containing the remains of his father in one of his works of art. The one problem was that he had already sold – and delivered – the sculpture to the Dallas Museum of Art a week prior.

Martin’s father, Barney Delabano, was also a professional artist and had worked at the Dallas Museum of Art for 33 years. After he passed away in 1997, half of his ashes were buried at the base of a desert willow tree on the campus of St. John’s Episcopal School. Barney’s wife, Barbara, kept the other half of his remains at her home in Dallas, Texas.

In 2001, four years after the death of his father and shortly after he had sold his sculpture Family Portrait: 1963 to the DMA, Martin was stuck with a vivid image of how he could inurn his father’s remains at the institution that he had dedicated decades of his life to:

The idea that hit me like a bolt of lightning was that I should have put my father’s ashes into the piece at the DMA. The next morning I excitedly called my mother and said, “Mom can you put your hands on…………….” and before I could complete my sentence my mother said, “Dad’s ashes because you want to put them into the piece”.

In the rest of his blog, he describes the dogged determination with which he persuaded curator Eleanor Harvey to let him make one final addition to his sculpture.

Read Martin’s blog post in its entirety here:

St. John's Episcopal School is a pre-K through eighth grade co-educational school in East Dallas. With dual-accreditation by the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest and the Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools, St. John’s is committed to the five tenets of an Episcopal education and a program of academic excellence designed to train the mind, strengthen the character and enrich the spirit of each student.