CALEB O’CONNOR’s passion for art began at an early age. Growing up in Maui, Hawaii, his surroundings provided the perfect setting to develop his drawing, painting and sculpting skills. While his brothers surfed the waves of Maui, young Caleb spent time sculpting shapes and figures in the sand. When he wasn’t on the beach, O’Connor walked through nature and drew the animals and landscapes he encountered.
O’Connor earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the Maryland Institute College of Art, one of the oldest art schools in the nation. He continued to hone his interest in sculpture as a Fulbright Scholar in Italy, studying under Nicolas Bertrux and Cynthia Sah, the founders of the renowned Arkad Foundation.
O’Connor has worked independently throughout his career. His studio locations have spanned the country — Hawaii, the Arlington, Virginia area, Chicago, and ultimately the University of Alabama campus. In 2013, Caleb and Ruth Jatib O’Connor opened an educational studio in downtown Tuscaloosa. In addition to the iconic Minerva sculpture, on December 14, 2019, 16 high-relief historical panels will be unveiled at the newly created Bicentennial Park in front of the Alabama State Capitol.
The Tuscaloosa Federal Building and Courthouse is home to 16 murals by O’Connor depicting pivotal moments in the history of our city, state, and nation. In 2016, his statue of Willie Mays was unveiled at Regions Field in Birmingham. The following year, his statue of WBC Heavyweight Boxing Champion and Tuscaloosa native Deontay Wilder was among 23 finalists in the 2017 International Portrait Competition.
A hallmark of Caleb O’Connor’s artistry is to draw the viewer in the experience, creating an opportunity to add their personal story to the work of art and provoking questions about the interpretation of the piece. The result: an intimate experience that leaves the beholder with a thirst to revisit the sculpture time and again.