TV Program Will Help Son’s Mission:
Make Father’s Works Known To World
By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ONEONTA – Since his famous sculptor father’s passing in 2013, David Hayes Jr. of Oneonta has been striving to continue elevating the artist’s legacy, organizing exhibits of David Sr.’s massive metal artworks at prestigious museums around the country.
The younger Hayes’ mission – his father was also named David – will receive a significant boost in the next couple months, when the PBS reality show, “Legacy List With Matt Paxton,” airs on public television stations nationwide, including on WCNY Syracuse on Saturday, March 6, following “Antiques Roadshow.”
Filmed last September at the sculptor’s historic home and barn on 57 acres in Coventry, Conn., the episode is generating interests even before it is aired, with articles about the Hayes segment appearing in recent days in the Hartford Courant and Washington Post.
The Courant’s headline from its Jan. 12 was “PBS decluttering show visits home of late Connecticut sculptor and find the stories behind the stuff.” Among “the stuff” Paxton discovers are original works by Salvador Dali and Picasso.
However, to son David Jr., who’s well known around Oneonta as board president of First Night, which also organizes Hometown Fourth of July activities and over Christmas, the Festival of Lights in Neahwa Park. the most endearing artifact was a mechanic’s shirt from Moriarty Brothers, a gas station in nearby Manchester.
“I was delighted to see that shirt,” he said. “I didn’t know it was there. My dad worked at Moriarty Brothers. My mom was Moriarty’s daughter. I believe that’s how they met. If they hadn’t met there’d be no me.”
According to the Courant story, Paxton used to host an A&E show called “Hoarders,” but “he created ‘Legacy List’ hoping for a happier vibe,” the Courant reported.
In the new show, “I wanted to show the aging population of American and all of their cool stories,” Paxton said. “It’s the stories that hold us back from downsizing, seeing the dining room, all the memories in it.”
But for David Hayes Jr., the artist’s son, the most moving artifact found in the house was a simple work shirt his father wore for his first job, at Moriarty Brothers, an auto service station in Manchester.
“I was delighted to see that shirt. I didn’t know it was there. My dad worked at Moriarty Brothers. My mom was Moriarty’s daughter. I believe that’s how they met. If they hadn’t met there’d be no me,” he said.
David Jr., who was on site last September in Coventry when Paxton’s crew filmed the episode, said the focus was the old house, which is on the Connecticut Register of Historic Places, and its contents, “and trying to clear it out.”
However, dozens of David Sr.’ sculpture are set up around the house, so his father’s creations will be introduced to the nation’s PBS-viewing public, many for first time.