Birmingham reviews new sculpture for public display

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published August 23, 2022

 The sculpture“ Khyber,” by Tom Paul Fitzgerald, has been donated to the city by Carolle Baskin.

The sculpture“ Khyber,” by Tom Paul Fitzgerald, has been donated to the city by Carolle Baskin.

Photo provided by the city of Birmingham


BIRMINGHAM — A new sculpture donated to the city of Birmingham is now under review to be installed.

The Public Arts Board is awaiting the approval of the City Commission before it can begin the installation process of the sculpture.

“Khyber,” by Tom Paul Fitzgerald, was built in 1979. The sculpture is black-painted steel and 120 inches high, with a base that is 54 by 50 inches.

Fitzgerald received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1967. He went on to become a professor of sculpture at Wayne State University.

The piece will add an extra element of history and culture to Birmingham through its historical meaning, city officials said.

The inspiration for the name “Khyber” comes from the Khyber Pass, on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The Khyber Pass is a mountain pass that was involved in the Silk Road trade route bridging central and southern Asia.

Historically, the Khyber Pass is considered to be a very important route for trade and military strategy.

“The Public Arts Board likes to have unique sculptures placed throughout the city to add some vibrancy to the parks,” Birmingham Senior Planner Brooks Cowan said.

The sculpture was donated by Carolle Baskin, sister of the late local attorney, Henry Baskin.

“The Public Arts Board is thrilled that Carolle Baskin has made this donation to the city. It is so important and it just adds to the cultural awareness in the city of Birmingham,” said Annie VanGelderen, the president and CEO of the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and a member of the Birmingham Public Arts Board. She previously had the sculpture placed at her brother’s house in Bloomfield Hills. Following his passing, she decided to donate the sculpture to the city in honor of her brother.

The sculpture has already been approved by the Public Arts Board and the Parks and Recreation Board. However, it still needs to be approved by the City Commission. The proposal will be brought to the commission in late August or early September.

“We are expanding our art in public spaces program and trying to present art in a tasteful manner in the city,” Cowan said.

Birmingham City Commission meeting agendas and updates can be found at