Beginning work in August of 1999, Jay Hall Carpenter won a national competition to create a larger-than-life-size bronze and granite sculpture of Jim Henson and Kermit the Frog for the University of Maryland, where Henson was a student in the 1950's. Of the project Carpenter has said:
“Although I have created numerous public memorials, I was particularly interested in the Jim Henson project. I have greatly admired his work since my youth, and the project offered the opportunity to contribute to the cultural life of Maryland, my home state. It was also a chance to inspire the students of the University by Jim's example. But most importantly, it was a chance to honor an artist and performer who brought so much joy to both children and adults. Jim Henson left the world better than he found it. I can think of no more fitting monument for the University.”
A professional sculptor for a quarter century, Jay Hall Carpenter earned his reputation during 20 years as sculptor for the Washington National Cathedral. He created the original carver's models for over 500 sculptures that adorn the gothic, limestone building. These sculptures include saints, angels, grotesques, and gargoyles. Many American churches contain his work, as do the State Department, the Smithsonian, Canterbury Cathedral, and the New England Medical Center. Other clients include West Point Military Academy, the Washington Theater Awards, and the State of Maryland.
Carpenter was elected into the National Sculpture Society before the age of thirty and has won numerous national awards for his sculptures. Carpenter recently won the competition to create an eight-foot bronze of Maryland State Comptroller Louis Goldstein for the State Capitol in Annapolis.
Carpenter's education includes study at Pratt Institute and The Catholic University of America. He served as sculptor's assistant to Master Sculptor Frederick E. Hart, working on Hart's major projects for the Washington National Cathedral, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, DC. Carpenter has also served as Sculptor-in-Residence at the Washington Cathedral, Wesley Theological Seminary, and The Catholic University of America, and has taught at the Art League School in Alexandria, VA, and Montgomery College in Rockville, MD. His sculptures and drawings are exhibited in fine art galleries throughout the United States.