Duluth Unveiling The Dream Keepers 9/11 Memorial
By Katie Hart Smith
Mark your calendars!
Pictured: The Dream Keepers, the original painting by Duluth artist, Kathy Fincher.
The City of Duluth and the Duluth Fine Arts League invite the public to attend the unveiling of the city’s newest piece of public art in Duluth’s Town Green on Saturday, April 29, 2017 at 7:00pm. The bronze sculpture, a three-dimensional perspective of Duluth native and renowned artist, Kathy Fincher’s 9/11 inspired painting, The Dream Keepers, is being donated to the city.
“Duluth is focused on unity in community and is developing a vision to be a destination city, not only historically, but artistically as well,” said Mayor Nancy Harris. The City held a ground-breaking ceremony for the public art project on November 7, 2016.
Pictured below: Kathy Fincher giving her stamp of approval of the painting of the glass flag.
Fincher’s inspiration for the painting came after the tragic events on September, 11, 2001. Moved to create a big picture understanding to explain what happened to us as a country and to find a positive message of hope to give to families, Fincher said, “I chose to paint a message with children in it to give them a voice and to create an awareness that shows how precious they are. I came to the conclusion that faith and freedom are what make America unique.” The artist drew a cross and a rectangle on her blank canvas. “The rectangle represented ‘freedom’ in the form of the American flag.” She added seven children who represent the seven continents. The seven children are working in harmony, symbolically putting America back together. “I painted the children shaping the American flag using their hand prints on a school wall. For ‘faith’, I formed the cross utilizing the light shining into the school room from a side window.”
Kathy Fincher sculpting the eighth addition in the studio.
The bronze sculpture will feature an eighth child who was added as a narrator and is singing, “God Bless America” while whimsically holding her sheet music upside down. Mayor Harris’ granddaughter served as the model. Mary Buck, President, Duluth Fine Arts League, asked to sponsor a ninth figure, a cocker spaniel, in memory of her late husband, Paul Buck. Fincher wanted to create that special piece and unveiled her initial clay model of the adorable canine during the inter view.
Rather than painting the flag on a school wall, the public art will portray the seven children painting a glass flag on a brick wall made of 139 year old brick. What is the unique difference between the original painting of the American flag and the public art? Hidden inside the glass on the public art and not in the original painting are five symbolic images to include: a cross, Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, an American Eagle, and the skyline of New York City.
Pictured: Fincher is working on the ninth figure, a cocker spaniel, sponsored by Mary Buck, President, Duluth Fine Arts League, in memory of her late husband, Paul Buck.
In 2008, Fincher and her family presented the original painting in the Oval office to President George W. Bush. It is currently in the art collection of the President and First Lady Laura Bush.
The Dream Keepers original painting is currently in the art collection of President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush. (L to R). Jef and Kathy Fincher, President Bush, Maggie and Kelley Fincher, and U.S. Congressman John Linder.
The Mayor, City Council, and the community of Duluth have rallied behind the project. Fincher is collaborating with Atlanta-based sculptor, Martin Dawe, Cherrylion Studio, the largest custom sculpture studio in Atlanta, Georgia, specializing in fine art sculpture commissions for public, corporate, and private collectors. The title, The Dream Keeper’s 9/11 Memorial, was inspired by curator, Rodney Mims Cook, Jr., Founder and President of the National Monuments Foundation. The sculpture is the largest patriotic artwork of children in the country, spanning over nine feet high and twelve feet wide.
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, a sponsor’s appreciation reception is scheduled for 6:00pm followed by a patriotic children’s parade that kicks off the main event at 7:00pm. Children of all ages are invited to participate; they will march down the Town Green, ending at The Dream Keeper’s 9/11 Memorial. The parade is being coordinated by Annie Valenty, Community Outreach Liaison, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. Children and parents will gather at 6:30pm at Dreamland Barbeque on Hwy 120.
Fincher enjoys creating bronze sculptures of children. Her dream is to begin making pieces for churches and cities. “This is where I see myself going, to be a part of public art through children and to create positive messages.”
Fincher is America’s most licensed children’s painter and creator of the largest public artwork of children in the country. She is also the designer for Believe, a nine-foot angel statue that graces the entrance of Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville.
For more information about the Duluth Fine Arts League, The Dream Keepers 9/11 Memorial, commemorative memorabilia, and sponsorship opportunities, visit: www.duluthfineartsleague.org.
For more information about the City of Duluth, visit: www.duluthga.net