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SLIDESHOW: High unveils statue to mark company history in Lancaster

Lancaster-based fine art foundry, A.R.T. Research Enterprises Inc., was commissioned by High Companies to create a life-size statue commemorating High’s history in Lancaster.

The bronze statue was unveiled Thursday afternoon at High Companies’ original site, 27 W. Lemon St. in Lancaster.

The public art, “High welding truck,” represents not only High’s start as a welding company in 1931 but the impact the company continues to have on Lancaster and beyond.

The statue is one-quarter the size of the original 1929 REO Speedwagon, the firm’s first welding truck.

Those in attendance at the unveiling ceremony included members of the High family, such as S. Dale High, chairman of the High companies, and Calvin G. High, a retired senior vice president; Tracy Beyl, the public art manager in Lancaster; High Companies CEO Mike Shirk; and Randy Patterson, director of the Economic Development and Neighborhood Revitalization of Lancaster.

“We’re an important creator of living-wage jobs,” Shirk said. “On average, our co-workers earn well above the county average.”

The company has added more than 200 new positions in the past year, the majority of which are in Lancaster, according to Shirk.

High Companies ranked six in this year’s Top 100 private companies list.

The cost of the statue was not disclosed.

The maker of the permanent memorial, A.R.T. Research Enterprises, was incorporated in 1981 and focuses on public art. Although its creations are scattered throughout the United States, many are here in Central Pennsylvania.

Currently, the company is working on two life-size bronze figures to be installed in Hershey. The figures, “Male and Female Spartans,” depict the Milton S. Hershey School Mascot.

Other local art includes a bronze male police officer in Carlisle, a full figure bronze portrait of Al Boscov, a real estate developer and humanitarian in Reading, and female bronze figures depicting Faith, Charity and Hope at the Women and Babies Hospital in Lancaster.

A.R.T. Research Enterprises co-founder Becky Ault spoke at the High Companies ceremony, describing the work on the statue and the “emotional attachment” she developed to the truck. Calvin G. High first approached her about the project.

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