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Life Arts    H4'ed 3/17/19

Voices from the Garden: The Virginia Women's Monument adds more statuary

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This is the second article in a series.

Voices from the Garden: The Virginia Women's Monument is the first monument of its kind in the country. The HER-storical statuary of the great women from Virginia's past will be approachable, interactive, life-sized bronzes arranged at eye level in an inviting, oval plaza.

Above: maquette of final plaza with sculptures, below: current plaza, inset: plaza and Capitol building.
Above: maquette of final plaza with sculptures, below: current plaza, inset: plaza and Capitol building.
(Image by Virginia Capitol Foundation)
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Twelve women will be represented - the same number of bronze men of war marching down Richmond's Monument Avenue.

Each statue requires a $200,000 investment in order to be commissioned with StudioEIS, the Brooklyn-based sculpture and design studio that created the vision for the monument, and will take several months to be completed after being commissioned.

Clay versions of  sculptures of Adele Clark, Virginia Randolph and Anne Burras Laydon
Clay versions of sculptures of Adele Clark, Virginia Randolph and Anne Burras Laydon
(Image by StudioEIS)
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The first four of those statues are in production: Cockacoeske, Anne Burras Laydon, Virginia Randolph and Adèle Clark. More information about these extraordinary women is in the first article in this series, Groundbreaking Virginia Monument Honors Women.

A StudioEIS sculptor works on the clay version of the statue of Cockacoeske
A StudioEIS sculptor works on the clay version of the statue of Cockacoeske
(Image by StudioEIS)
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A StudioEIS sculptor works on the clay version of the statue of Virginia Randolph.
A StudioEIS sculptor works on the clay version of the statue of Virginia Randolph.
(Image by StudioEIS)
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On March 12, 2019, in celebration of Women's History Month, the Virginia Capitol Foundation announced that the next three statues had been fully funded: Laura Copenhaver, Elizabeth Keckly and Mary Draper Ingles.

Costumed models pose for the development of the statues of (L-R) Laura Copenhaver, Elizabeth Keckly and Mary Draper Ingles.
Costumed models pose for the development of the statues of (L-R) Laura Copenhaver, Elizabeth Keckly and Mary Draper Ingles.
(Image by StudioEIS)
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Laura Copenhaver, (August 29, 1868 - December 18, 1940) an entrepreneur from Southwest Virginia, was director of information for the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. She advanced the agricultural economy of southwestern Virginia by incorporating cooperative marketing of farm products. She exemplified this in her own business: working from her home, Rosemont, she coordinated the production of coverlets, rugs and other household items that were made with wool from area farms and crafted by local women. These goods attracted customers from throughout the U.S., as well as Asia, Europe and South America.

In addition Copenhaver was a writer of fiction, poetry, and church pageants, and authored a popular hymn. She graduated from Marion Female College in 1884 and for more than twenty years she taught English and occasionally courses in mathematics and astronomy. She was close friends with Sherwood Anderson, a popular writer who is credited with assisting William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway launch their careers, and who depended on Copenhaver for editing advice until her death.

Elizabeth Keckly UNC
Elizabeth Keckly UNC
(Image by Wikipedia (commons.wikimedia.org))
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Elizabeth Keckly: (sometimes spelled Keckley, February 1818 - May 1907) Born enslaved in Dinwiddie County, Virginia, Elizabeth Keckly was an unusually talented seamstress who survived rape and years of beatings before she bought her freedom in 1855 with the help of her patrons. After moving to Washington, D.C., she developed a clientele of prominent women and came to the attention of Mary Todd Lincoln, eventually becoming the First Lady's personal dressmaker, and most trusted friend. Intimately associated with the family, she also played a key role in influencing the president's views on emancipation.

When 11-year-old Willie Lincoln died, Keckly was the one who washed and dressed him, and was the First Lady's support. Keckly's only son, who passed as white, had died fighting in the Civil War the year before. When President Lincoln was assassinated, the first person Mary Todd Lincoln called for was Elizabeth Keckley. Later, Mrs. Lincoln gave Keckley her own bloodstained cloak and bonnet from that fateful night.

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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