Archive for Thursday, March 23, 2006

Eudora statue commissioned

March 23, 2006

Lawrence artist Jim Brothers' mentor once told him to do his best for a commissioned work whether it was for a nickel or $1 million.

In 16 months, Eudora will see his best.

The Eudora City Council voted at its March 13 meeting to pay Brothers $58,000 to construct a bronze statue of the town's founder Paschal Fish and his daughter Eudora. The statue will portray Paschal Fish holding Eudora's hand when she was a young girl and capture the moment when she learned she'd be the town's namesake.

"You pour your heart out all you can at this time in history," Brothers said.

Brothers said he strives to improve himself with every piece he takes on.

"You never strive to be second," Brothers said.

The city and Eudora Lions Club will share Brothers' competitive spirit and strive to raise the total $75,000 needed for the project.

Although both the city and the organization have been working to raise money over the past several weeks, the finalization of the contract marks the official kickoff of the effort.

"We're hoping community members and clubs will come join us," Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.

The fund-raising effort is led by the Lions Club, but the city of Eudora put the initial $14,500 down payment.

The city and Lions Club will make three more payments over the course of the statue's creation.

"(Brothers) says he likes that because it gives us the chance to raise the funds as we go along," Beatty said.

The major fund-raising mechanism will be a brick sale. For every $50 brick sold, the Lions Club will donate $10.

"We hope the brick sale goes well," Beatty said. "It's a way to have people's names memorialized."

With order forms for the bricks being proliferated across the city, organizers look to attract larger donations as well.

Citizens or businesses donating more the $250 will have their name placed on a bronze plaque that will be mounted on the statue, Beatty said.

The brick and plaque might bring in the most money for the organizers, but the fund-raising effort will have a much larger breadth.

Local businesses like Gambino's Pizza will set aside times to donate profits to the project.

The city has been donating proceeds from salvage work and has even turned to the E-Bay Web site to sell extra goods to earn money.

As the year goes on, community events will be scheduled to raise more capital for the project.

Lions Club member Tom Tucker has worked to bring the Tonganoxie opry act Annie's Country Jubilee in for a benefit show May 12 at the Eudora Middle School.

"We've really tried to schedule something every month," Tucker said.

The school district will also help raise money to bring Paschal and Eudora back.

"I think it's important as far as the school district is concerned to help educate the students about Eudora and its history," Eudora USD 491 Superintendent Marty Kobza said. "I think through that process allowing the students to get involved in some fund- raising activity will be an important part of that."

Kobza said viewed the Eudora statue project and sesquicentennial as being more than a one-day project.

"It's an opportunity to get involved to create some of the history themselves by fund-raising for the statue," Kobza said.

History is core the Lions Club and city effort too, Beatty said.

"As we go along through the project, we hope to educate people about Eudora's history and to move the project forward," Beatty said.

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