Hear from the Detroit artist whose Rosa Parks sculpture is featured in Biden’s Oval Office

Artis Lane hand-crafted the bust

President Joe Biden brought a piece of Black history to the White House last month when he redecorated the Oval Office.
President Joe Biden brought a piece of Black history to the White House last month when he redecorated the Oval Office.

DETROIT – President Joe Biden brought a piece of Black history to the White House last month when he redecorated the Oval Office.

Biden honored several historic figures in the new art pieces, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., 32nd President Franklin D. Roosevelt, 33rd President Harry S. Truman and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez.

A bronze bust of Detroit’s own Rosa Parks is now on prominent display. Artis Lane, a Detroit artist hand-crafted the bust.

READ: Detroit artist’s sculpture of Rosa Parks featured in Biden’s Oval Office

Artis Lane was born in Ontario. She moved to the United States and joined the battle against social injustices. She uses her art to tell the story of the land.

“Sometimes I work from photographs, but she (Rosa Parks) came over to my home. She posed for me in my backyard. And we talked, and she posed. I have photographs of the two of us together,” Lane said.

The bust has made the journey from the Smithsonian Museum to President Joe Biden’s office. It stands with other great figures in history.

Lane has sculpted and painted many important figures. She has explored struggles, strengths and frailties in her work. She turns 94 this May.

Despite her age, Lane is still sculpting and painting. She is currently working on a sculpture that stands 12-feet tall. She said she would love to be invited to sculpt a bust of Vice President Kamala Harris.

READ: Black History Month coverage


About the Authors:

Paula Tutman is an Emmy award-winning journalist who came to Local 4 in 1992. She's a Peace Corps alum who spent her early childhood living in Sierra Leone, West Africa and Tanzania and East Africa.

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.