By Garland Pollard
NEW YORK – In the wake of discussion about the possible demolition of the Pan Am Worldport (now Delta’s Terminal 3), there is one key element that has already been removed. The Zodiac Screen sculptures (or sculpture), now in storage, that used to dominate the front of the building. The screen was once the largest sculpture in the world.
Through the years, stars and blue sky were part of the branding of Pan Am. The zodiac was a major part of the Art Deco Pan American terminal in Miami at Dinner Key. The ceiling there had panels depicting the signs of the zodiac symbols on it. The building still exists as Miami City Hall.
The sculptor, Milton Hebald, at age 92 lives in Los Angeles and still works in terra cotta. He created the 24 x 220 sculpture in 1961.
Of all Hebald’s works, the Zodiac Screen is the most famous. “So many people identify with it,” says Hebald’s trustee, Karen Lupton. ” They remember it. It was such an image for people.”
The ultimate would be to have the zodiac reinstalled in any renovated or new Delta terminal. While they were created for Pan Am, and were taken down by Delta, the company officials who did it are long gone. Plus, the images don’t have anything to do with the logo of Pan Am, so they would fit. Lupton says it is his dream to have the sculptures resurrected.
The Zodiac Screen is Hebald’s legacy. Known for his various sculptures throughout the world, Hebald’s dream is to find the Zodiac Screen a new home. Created in bronze, there are 12 unique pieces, Aries, Aquarius, Cancer, Capricorn, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Pisces, Sagittarius, Scorpio, Taurus and Virgo. Each piece is a representation of Hebald’s vision, and his unique contemporary baroque style.
The 91-year-old Hebald states, “The creation of this sculpture took the greater part of my life. I felt that it truly related to all people. For some it spoke to astrology, others history, but even more so it spoke of beauty, love, and aesthetic gratification. I have never been more proud of one of my creations. I can happily go to my resting place knowing that
people can once again enjoy the Zodiac”.
Interest in Hebald is growing again; he now even has a website and had a new show last year. Documentary artist Linda Carfagno is working on a story of his life, which includes an interview in the Port Authority hanger where the Zodiac sits.
Many of his older pieces are in private collections and some have been sold off.
Lupton says that she did speak over a year ago to the Port Authority, which has the sculptures “still safe” in storage.
“Milton’s time will come again,” says Lupton.