Originally created 04/27/04

Studio re-creates art on mountain



ATLANTA - Joseph Hurt knows a lot about the carving on Stone Mountain, even the exact distances between Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee's noses.

Mr. Hurt had to know the esoteric details for a one-sixteenth scale replica he created for Stone Mountain Park's Confederate Hall, which reopened a month ago. Mr. Hurt was commissioned for the Stone Mountain replica as part of the park's $4 million renovation of what is now the Confederate Hall Historical and Environmental Education Center.

Both carvings - the real one and the replica - represent a special moment in Georgia history, as Monday was the state's Confederate Memorial Day.

It took Mr. Hurt, who owns Joseph Hurt Studio, four months to build the replica. He started by examining blown-up photos to analyze the distance, diameter and depth of the original carving.

Mr. Hurt's children, Paul, David and Lori, then worked with him to create rubber and fiberglass molds, painted to look like the granite in which the real carving is embedded.

"It is an excellent piece of work," said Curtis Branscome, the CEO of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the state authority that governs the park.

Mr. Hurt is a former curator for Fernbank Science Center and the Georgia Historical Commission. The Hurt studio's résumé includes taxidermy for the Smithsonian Institute; a tropical rainforest at Disney's Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla.; and more than 200 robotic animals for exhibits across the country.