A group called Save our Studio
held a rally in Chesterfield Valley last night in an attempt to save sculptor Don Wiegand's home and studio
from the wrecking ball.
Wiegand's three-acre property, which is also home to the Wiegand Foundation
and a popular party spot for area nonprofits, is nestled off Baxter Road and Chesterfield Airport Road on 1 Wiegand Drive
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been working on plans to build a retaining wall adjacent to Wiegand's property, in order to stem potential flood damage. But last month Wiegand got word from the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee Protection District
, which is working with the Corps, that plans to condemn Wiegand's property altogether
were in the works.
Save our Studio, headed up by Nancy Carver, is trying to arrange a sit-down with the Corps for a straight answer on the situation, according to Carver.
"This studio has survived a fire and the flood [of 1993]," says Carver. "To think that it could now be taken out by a bulldozer is heartbreaking."
Carver said the building was originally a slaughterhouse built by Wiegand's father in the 1920s. Wiegand began rehabbing it into a studio 40-some years ago. The central structure features an indoor tree. Carver said Wiegand decided on all the landscaping for the property by helicopter, verifying everything would look harmonious from every angle possible.
The property has been feature on HGTV, according to Carver. It is located very near Annie Gunn's Smokehouse and Market, which is owned by Wiegand's sister and brother-in-law.
"Everyone feels this building is theirs, and it truly does belong to everyone," Wiegand says in a statement. "This building needs to be saved not just for personal reasons but for historical and horticultural reasons.... I need a big sling shot to stop this giant."
Wiegand's sculptures are in collections around the world. He has just been commissioned by Winston Churchill's granddaughter to do a likeness of her grandfather.