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From heavy metal to Brick City, Zollo makes his mark

The largest sculpture Carl Zollo '52 ever created is at RIT. His alma mater also has inspired some of his most whimsical and ephemeral work.

The 8,000-pound, 11-foot high "Split Cube" at the entrance of National Technical Institute for the Deaf is a campus landmark. But visitors to any of the three annual Brick City Festivals have seen another side of the Rochester artist's creativity. Zollo has volunteered each year to design decorations for the Student Alumni Union cafeteria, site of many of the festival's key activities.

"I try to come up with ideas that are easy to execute," says Zollo of the Brick City work, "things that are fun for me and for the people who work on the event, and those who come."

The first year, he came up with the idea of hanging hundreds of lengths of ribbon from the rafters, creating an expanse of color and motion. Even more memorable was a theme based on white lights and silver stars.

"It was absolutely beautiful," recalls Cindee Gray, director of community relations and special events. "Carl brings lots of energy and enthusiasm to the project. I think people really look forward to the decorations. He's a tremendous asset to Brick City Festival."

The Rochester native majored in art and design at RIT and became art director for the newly formed Channel 8 television after graduation. He began to explore sculpting, and developed a career as a metal artist. Zollo's commissioned works can be seen at Eastman Kodak Co., Genesee Hospital, Paychex, and many other Rochester-area businesses and organizations.

In May 1992 at age 62, Zollo underwent quadruple bypass surgery, but he has no plans to retire. "I'm going gangbusters," he says. "I'm as active as I want to be.

"I'm more interested in doing volunteer work," he adds. Besides his work at RIT, he lends his creativity to the Red Cross.

"It's the old story," he says. "I think we all reach a point when we feel you've got to give something back."