Friday, 25 May 2018 10:46

Mother & Son Light Up Congress Park

Photos provided. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Spirit of Life Sculpture of the Trask Memorial in Congress Park may look a little different to park- goers at night thanks to a mother and son, and their strong bond.

The Spencer Trask Memorial in Congress Park, that features the Spirit of Life sculpture, is certainly a site to see especially since it is now lit at night. It was something that members of the Spirit of Life and Spencer Trask Memorial Restoration Committee had wanted to do as well as the Commissioner of Public Works Skip Scirocco. Unfortunately after fundraising efforts and an extensive four-year restoration ending in 2015, the funds were not available.

In 2015 Saratoga Springs resident, Andrea DeAngelis, was also going through a particularly hard time in her own life; a breast cancer diagnosis. She and her son, Anthony Potter, would frequent Congress Park for a nightly walk. On these walks DeAngelis would always remark on how unfortunate it was that the sculpture couldn’t be seen at night.

Flash-forward to January 2018 Potter was getting married and had the perfect idea for a wedding gift for his mother. Potter called Samantha Bosshart, Executive Director of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation and asked if it was possible to make a contribution to have the Spirit of Life lit with spotlights.

“This was something I have wanted to do since we completed the restoration so I definitely was on board with making it happen,” shared Commissioner Scirocco.

With the challenging weather, there was some doubt as to whether or not it would be done by Potter’s wedding on May 5. Luckily the project was completed by May 3. That night while DeAngelis was entertaining family and friends two days before her son’s wedding, Potter asked his mother if they could sneak off for a few minutes so he could unveil the now lit sculpture.

“I was so shocked... It was so perfect and beautiful,” said DeAngelis. “The Spirit of Life has always had meaning for me, especially during particularly difficult times,” she added.

“She [DeAngelis] has lit up my life and so I wanted to light something up for her,” Potter said.

“After spending four years and raising nearly $450,000 on the behalf of the Foundation to benefit the restoration project, it was an incredibly special moment to see it for the first time. I know many others in the community will feel the same way when they see her for the first time lit at night. We are so grateful for this gift that will benefit the residents of Saratoga Springs and its many visitors for many years to come,” said Bosshart.

In 1913, Katrina Trask, philanthropist, founder of artist colony Yaddo, and Saratoga resident, along with Spencer Trask’s business partner George Foster Peabody, commissioned the Memorial to honor her late husband Spencer Trask’s efforts to preserve the springs and establish the State Reservation at Saratoga Springs, known today as Saratoga Spa State Park.

The memorial was created by noted American sculptor Daniel Chester French, architect Henry Bacon, and landscape architect, Charles Leavitt, Jr. French and Bacon are best known for their collaboration on the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. French created the bronze Spirit of Life sculpture; Bacon designed the masonry architectural surround; and Leavitt, who was responsible for significant changes to the Saratoga Race Course at the turn of the century, planned the landscape setting.

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