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September 24, 2021

By Michael A. Massa, J.D., Capital University Law School Class of 1992

Art, Justice and Law At Capital

It’s often said that beauty equals art, which equals justice.

With that in mind, if one has ever had the opportunity to enter the front portals to Capital University’s Law School building on East Broad Street, they may be in for quite a surprising glimpse into some rare metal sculpted artwork by a famous American artist.

The beautiful bas-relief, intricately polished bronze artwork on the building’s front facade is the work of the late Ralph J. Menconi (1915-72), a famous New York artist.

Menconi, known as “America’s Sculptor and Medalist,” was lauded for his high-relief metal artwork at the U.S. Capitol, the White House, and numerous other sites.

Presidents Kennedy and Nixon, as well as illustrious personalities such as Winston Churchill, personally sat for portraits that Menconi transformed into high-relief medals and coins. Menconi had created additional artwork for New York Law School, Hamilton Law School, Kenyon College, the U.S. Supreme Court, and even Nassau’s Christ Cathedral Church. In more recent history, Menconi had designed profile medallions of American astronauts.

Other Menconi works have graced the walls and doorways of numerous sites, such as libraries to museums. In all, more than 900 works of art are attributed to him.

Capital Law School’s stately post art deco-era edifice was originally built in 1942 for the Columbus Mutual Life Insurance Company, so the intricate artwork and image of a ship in gleaming metal seem appropriate.  The building was subsequently acquired by the University in the mid-1990s.

The artist’s lustrous metal artwork on the front of the Law School is titled “Onward to New Horizons,” a seemingly fitting theme for a well-established and forward-looking institution such as Capital University. 

So, students, alumni, and friends may want to keep an eye out the next time they venture to Capital Law School. Simply look up and get a quick glimpse into history. Menconi’s sculpted metal artwork is just one gem in the already diverse art and cultural landscape of Capital University.