A Ride on a Carousel

Renee Rey, Artist and Writer September 22, 2006

“Carousel.” For most of us, the very word conjures up vivid memories of an innocent and care-free time in our life as children. I can almost see the smile and hear the chuckle as you reminisce. If we could talk, you would regale me with a joyous carousel story of a time, a place, and about a cornucopia of characters, real and imagined. A lasting memory.

David Stoltz, internationally renowned sculptor, has created lasting memories throughout his career. He is an artist who has had a monumental vision, and the creative genius and focus to realize his dreams.

Take a look at his sculpture. You have the opportunity right here in Miami Beach, at the Sagamore Hotel on Collins Avenue. This gem stands approximately 4-3- feet high, at the foot of the pool, overlooking (or seeming to run towards) the ocean. It glimmers, as it tells its story.

When you look at David’s sculpture, drawings and paintings, you are immediately engaged. Why? Because, at the root of his work, is the man himself. He has a deep understanding and ability to connect with people personally, and through his work.

That glimmer in his sculpture? It just might be the gleam in the artist’s eye, as he tells you about the details of his creative process or about his colorful and often humorous life adventures. Stories about the glorious hours when he imagined and caste huge steel sculptures in a 10,000 square foot studio. The time Frank Sinatra called him up, and told David to be ready for a limousine to pick him up the next day. David was being jetted from NY.

His latest drawings are about heart, and universal truth. The “Sharon and All that Jazz” series is a conceptual body of work paying homage to enduring love between two people, and love lost. Connection and motion. Love and people, come and go.

David’s work is now coming full circle. The characters, and the symbols, he has created over the years, in his sculpture, drawings, and paintings, have culminated in his grandest vision. He has created in concept, drawings, and small-scale models, a monument to people, place, and time.

The Carousel

His vision is to bring people together, from across the street, and from across the world, in meditation, meaning, and fun. The Carousel, possibly spanning 50 feet in diameter, would be populated by three or four rings of vibrant, joyous, sleek steel characters like those of his sculptures and drawings. It would reflect the modern art he has created over the past 20 or so years, not the traditional image of horse, deer or pig of carousel past.

David’s ultimate goal is to erect a Carousel in various cities around the world. There would be reference to the city or country, perhaps in some of the images or music. People could get on and get off, stroll back, and get on again. This interactive work would allow individuals to meet each other in a magical place, and tell their stories, the ups and downs, to one another. They could sit, watch, and be engaged.

David’s cumulative work is thus connected. The individual pieces he has created, their symbolism and form, are virtually intertwined with the Carousel. And in this connection, he would connect people around the world, in the present and from the past.

And how does the history of the carousel enter the picture? The concept began in the Byzantine era (about 500 AD) when people rode in baskets attached to a center pole. The Crusaders during the 1100’s, while watching Arabian and Turkish men play a serious game on horseback, brought the concept back to Europe. The Crusaders called the contest, “little war” or “carosella” or “garosello.”

The French, in about 1500, developed a device to train nobles in horsemanship and accuracy. It became a ring-spearing, jousting tournament, they coined, “Carrousel.” Around 1680, a carousel of sorts was created using wooden horses, still for warring purposes. In the 1800’s the carousel evolved into the amusement park ride we know today, and was popularized in Europe. and the US. (For more information:

Fully aware of the carousel’s “darker past”, David intently relates his idea of transforming a device with a global and cultural history of violence and disharmony, into a worldwide symbol of life, love, and connection.

The Carousel, by David Stoltz, is rich in meaning and universal quality. It is timeless, representing our collective past, present, and future.

One day, you may be sitting on a bench watching the meditative and inspiring dance of his Carousel. You will turn to a man sitting next to you, and share your carousel story. He will relish in hearing it, with a smile on his face, and a glimmer in his eye. You just might discover the artist, and know his life’s work.

Another lasting memory.