Artist’s daytime conception of memorial designed by Amanda Matthews (copyright holder of images)
|Artist’s conception of memorial at dusk|
At a memorial service for the 10,000-plus Kentuckians whose deaths are attributed to Covid-19, Gov. Andy Beshear announced that Lexington sculptor Amanda Matthews will create a permanent memorial at the state Capitol.
|Artist’s conception of memorial at night, with
Capitol dome and wreath lit green in background
An advisory committee that “included health care heroes, family members and loved ones of those lost and Covid-19 survivors, selected the final design for the memorial,” said a news release from Beshear’s office.
“As a Kentucky native, Amanda’s pride and compassion for the people of the commonwealth and for the struggles so many have faced during the pandemic shine brightly from her personally and through this work,” said Gov. Beshear. “This piece will be expertly crafted, illustrating Kentuckians’ willingness to come together for each other during this pandemic.”
Matthews, artist and chief executive officer of Prometheus Foundry, has received commissions for several major projects, including the statue of pioneering Black journalist Alice Dunnigan in Russellville and a New York City women’s memorial now under construction. In May 2020, Beshear appointed Matthews to the state Oral History Commission.
Beshear said major hospital firms Norton Healthcare, Baptist Health, St. Elizabeth Healthcare, King’s Daughters Health System, UofL Health, UK Healthcare and Pikeville Medical Center are sponsoring the new monument, along with other donors to the memorial fund. He did not reveal the cost.
“All of us – whether or not we’ve lost someone close to Covid – have been forever changed by these times,” Beshear said. “I believe that, in order to fully move forward and embrace the opportunities we see opening up across this commonwealth, we must give full respect to this moment in history that has tried us in ways few could have imagined just two years ago.”
At the memorial service, held in the Capitol due to cold, windy weather, Beshear noted that the death toll is nearing the number of Kentuckians lost in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. “Our war against Covid is different in many ways from the wars fought by our brave soldiers,” he said, “but to achieve our ultimate victory, we must have the same urgency, unity and dedication to one another.”
Overall said, “Together we gave everything that we had for the men, women and children of the commonwealth. Together we held their hands, prayed with them, gave them hope and worked tirelessly to give them the best care possible. Even during the darkest days of this pandemic, even during the peak of the surges – we stayed together. Let us remember that it is that unity that will see this through and find us united as we work to put this battle behind us.”