Dennis the Menace

Playful life-size bronze sculptures at the historic Dennis the Menace Park, Midland, Texas

When the City of Midland Parks & Recreation Department sought to renovate a beloved and cherished park that was an iconic piece of Midland’s history, they sought a sculptor online to create playful themed sculptures of Dennis for The Dennis the Menace Park.  

It began with a phone call to Marcey, Tom’s wife, where the caller asked about creating a Dennis the Menace sculpture for a park. She recognized the caller’s area code and asked if it was for the Dennis the Menace Park in Midland, Texas? “Why yes, how’d you know?”

She had lived in Midland for about 24 years and Tom had for 35 years.  He had grown up in Midland. “Our daughter fell off the airplane at the park and broke her arm and Tom grew up playing in that park.  All our kids were born in Midland and our first grandson,” responded Marcey. “We know the park well; how can we help?”

Needless to say, both Marcey and Tom were thrilled to be able to create a line of Dennis the Menace-themed bronze sculptures for this special park where all their kids played and they both played as young people themselves with their siblings and friends. 

The park was to have five distinct-themed play areas of baseball, a splash pad, a treehouse area, Western town, and airplane play equipment. Tom created six different designs — one for the entrance to greet every visitor, and one for each specific play area of the new park design.

Tom, who is a kid at heart and very spontaneously funny, was given free license to create sculptures expressing all of the fun, joy and laughter that reside in kids of all cultures. He created six different designs for the park, including an “Adventurer/Explorer Dennis” that stands at the entrance of the park peering through a large telescope. This life-size bronze statue of Dennis greets each person who enters the extremely popular park.

“Slugger Dennis” was placed in the baseball themed area of the part — a sculpture that has Dennis swinging a bat with a baseball cap on and his typical overalls.

The “Pirate Dennis” stands in the splash pad area of the part and was sponsored by the generous donations of Kyle and Jamie Stallings and their family. Kyle is the CEO and founder of Desert Royalty Company, an oil and investment firm headquartered in Midland. Their grandkids helped make the decision on which one of the sculptures Tom had designed they wanted to sponsor as they love playing at the park.

“Pirate Dennis” has a toy parrot on his shoulder, a wooden sword and an eye patch! There is a pirate ship at the splash pad and Tom sought to tap into the imagination of children as they swashbuckle their way through adventures at the splash pad.

Donors continue to be sought for the “Root’n’ Tootin’ Cowboy Dennis,” the “Carpenter Dennis” building his treehouse while eating a cookie (with hammer on his belt and wood under his arm), and as a young “Aviator Dennis”  flying an airplane in his hand. Interested donors may call Laurie Williams, Parks and Recreation Manager, at (432) 685-7370 to sponsor one of Tom’s bronze sculptures for this childrens’ park.  Donors can also contact Marcey White and she will do all the leg work to get the donor tied in with the Midland Parks and Recreation folks. 

All of the six playful sculptures designed by Tom are available for recast for other parks. These are also available in tabletop bronze size for those nostalgic for the cartoons of their youth.…Tom & Marcey White