- Associated Press - Monday, June 5, 2017

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Albert Einstein, Mark Twain and St. Francis of Assisi will be gracing the city of Grand Island sometime this summer.

A statue of Einstein will be placed at the airport. Twain’s statue will be holding a book on a bench outside the city library. The statue of St. Francis will sit on a bench outside St. Mary’s Cathedral.

The statues are part of a public art project undertaken by members of Grow Grand Island, a resident-driven effort to develop the Hall County city. The Grand Island Independent reports (https://bit.ly/2rCtQhs ) that the need for arts and humanities enhancement was identified by a Grow Grand Island committee.

“Art is a unifier across cultures, generations and genders,” said committee member Tammy Morris. “Art will attract residents as well as visitors to appreciate the Grand Island community.”

Six months ago the group dedicated its first sculpture: the bronze “Imagination Takes Flight” piece at College Park by Grand Island native Matthew Placzek. On Thursday a dedication ceremony will mark two sculptures placed at Railside Plaza. They were created by Omaha artist Jun Kaneko.

Some local attorneys are trying to raise $39,000 to put a bronze George Washington statue in front of the Hall County Courthouse.

Ray O’Connor, who donated the Einstein, Twain and Assisi statues, said he remembered seeing the statues in Beaver Creek, Colorado, and speaking with his wife, Jennifer, about how they belonged in Grand Island.

“We hope this will raise awareness of how important art is in a community,” O’Connor said.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com


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