The story begins in the summer of 2016. The raven bust on the front of the building was looking ragged again. The sculpture was made of industrial foam, and every year due to harsh winters it had to be serviced. This process was both expensive and time consuming.
It was around this time that the Gerry Kramer Spartan Facade Grants, managed by the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, was brought to the attention of the Raven management team.
Owner Jody Parmann applied for the grant that summer, and while the project was approved they hit some snags when the original sculptor had to bow out due to personal issues after working on it for over a year. The project was in limbo, and wood carvers with the skill needed for the project are rare in the Blue Water Area.
Then in October of 2017, Parmann was attending a solo art show for fellow artist Holly Pennington at Studio 1219 when she spotted a beautiful donation box in the shape of an artist’s palette, carved from wood. She discovered the identity of the artist: Tim Brown.
Brown was interested in the commission job when contacted by Parmann, and the original foam bust and ribbon were taken down from the Raven Cafe’s facade and delivered to Brown’s workshop in Port Huron Township.
The job was completed in four months. Upon completion, Parmann contacted local muralist and painter David Stoneberg to paint the bust. Ravens are tricky- they may seem like they’re just black, but in certain lights they have oily slick-jewel tones in their feathers. She asked David to incorporate this to show when the sun hit it the bird.
In June of 2018 the bird was painted and delivered. The bust, made of cedar, was much heavier than the industrial foam. Safety was the Raven staff’s top priority when mounting it to the facade. Parmann contracted Cedar Hill Graphics, who put her in touch with Paul Dunaj. With the help of his brother, Dave Dunaj, they got “her” up there securely. The Raven staff is glad to have her back. “It’s as if she was always there,” says Parmann.
The Raven Café wants to extend a special thank you to Gerald Kramer, the Community Foundation of St. Clair County, Natalie Watson of Downtown Port Huron, Tim Brown of Studio 1219, Michael Higgins, David Stoneberg, Paul and Dave Dunaj and Cedar Hill Graphics.