IN DETROIT, JEFFREY BRIGGS GIVES THE CLASSIC RIDE AN ECOLOGICAL
Jeffrey Briggs, A71, doesn’t shrink from big projects—like the pair of 5-foot-tall
human feet he sculpted for Timberland Shoes—but his 28-foot-diameter carousel
in Detroit’s newly revitalized Rivard Street Plaza may take the brass ring.
Of the several carousels he has made for Fabricon Creations of Maryland, this
one required the most prep work. Briggs spent a year in his Newburyport, Massachusetts,
studio researching animals of the Detroit River and designing sculptures based
on them. The carousel is also his “biggest in sheer volume,” he says: seventeen
jumpers, two standers, a swan chariot, and many intricately carved panels.
For fun, he threw in a mermaid and a local legend: “a snaky-looking river creature
that has been photographed over the years.”
Briggs, a graduate of the joint Tufts/School of the Museum of Fine Arts program,
enlisted his friend William Rogers, a trompe l’oeil
painter, to apply the shimmering Art Nouveau colors and paint the scenic murals.
In photo essay we glimpse the attraction in full swing and