submitted photo The Herald
 South Beloit artist Salem Barker, his wife Christine and three children stand in front of “The Outpouring,” a 25 ft. steel sculpture he created that stands in front of the Hilton Curio Hotel in Homewood, Ala.

By Jean Seegers


Standing 20 feet tall on a five-foot base, “The Outpouring,” a steel sculpture created by South Beloit artist Salem Barker was delivered to its new home in front of the Hilton Curio Hotel in Homewood, Ala., a suburb of Birmingham.

The majestic piece now stands outside the hotel in front of the adjoining Ironwood Restaurant.

“The Outpouring” was commissioned by Michael Mouron, who owns the business class Hotel. Mouron was looking for a large modern piece of art that would make a bold statement.

Mouron was aware of Barker’s work and contacted him. After lengthy discussion, Barker presented three sketches of his ideas: “The Outpouring” was chosen.

The Birmingham area was at one time considered the steel-making center of the south. Mouron wanted the sculpture to draw on that. The outpouring” is built of Corten Steel, a weathered steel alloy, that when exposed to weather, develops a rust-like appearance.

It took Barker 3 ½ months, working daily in his garage/studio. “He (Mouron) wanted to keep cost under $100,000. I built it for $99,000. That included purchasing new tools, crating and delivering the piece.”

Barker said the welding was done inside his studio. Winches and cables were used to raise and lower the heavy piece. “I never got tired of working on it.”

Barker and his wife Christina decided to make the delivery of the sculpture a family vacation. They packed up their sons, age seven and nine, and their two-year-old daughter and drove to Alabama. “I wanted our boys to see how a sculpture is created – from beginning to end.”

Barker has been creating works of art on a full-time basis since 2007. The fine arts sculptor works in all types of mediums and a variety of sizes.

“This past year has been a hard time for artists,” he said. “Art shows are down because of COVID-19. This commission was a real life-saver.”

“I am still creating collectable wood sculptures and am excited about continuing to pursue sculpting large works in metal.” In February, he will begin exhibiting again at juried art shows around the country.

Michael Mouron remains a client. He has commissioned Barker to create another sculpture in bronze for a wall in the hotel.

Information and photos of Barker’s work in wood, stone, bronze and steel can be viewed on his website at:

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