New Sculptures to Be Installed at Steel Museum

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Three new outdoor sculptures are set to be installed at the Youngstown Historical Center for Industry and Labor later this summer.

The pieces – “Steel Worker,” “ Soldier” and “Coal Miner” – are each roughly  nine feet tall and weigh 400 pounds. The late Sidney Rackoff, who worked in steel mills in the city, created them in the 1980s and 1990s after retiring.

“We are thrilled to have this amazing artwork at the museum,” said Marcelle Wilson, a history instructor at Youngstown State University and the museum’s site manager, in a statement. “The work is emotional and thought provoking.”

She added that the works were donated by Rackoff’s family, who approached the museum after his death in 2014. Work to bring the sculptures has been ongoing for two years.

“This is important work that needs to be preserved,” she said. “Rabbi Rackoff’s experiences informed his work and his connection with people. We think we are the correct place to collect these sculptures and display them.”

Born in 1919, Rackoff served in World War II, earning a Purple Heart while fighting in France, Belgium and Germany. After the war, he worked at Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. from 1948 to 1967 and owned a used furniture store. In 1969, he graduated from Yeshiva University and became a rabbi, serving in synagogues in Elyria, Mentor, Zanesville and New Castle, Pa.

Later in life, he took art classes at Lorain Community College and Cleveland State University. His work has been exhibited at Colony Square Mall in Zanesville, Shaker Square in Cleveland and The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, among other sites.

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