Friday, October 08, 2010

Burlingame to be featured at dedication of Lincoln, Davis and Fell statue

Noted Lincoln scholar Michael Burlingame, author of Abraham Lincoln: A Life, will be the keynote speaker for the dedication of a sculpture commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s connections to Bloomington-Normal. The life-sized statuary group features Lincoln and his close friends and advisors, Jesse Fell and Judge David Davis, and was commissioned by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County. Professor Burlingame is the Chancellor Naomi B. Lynn Distinguished Chair in Lincoln Studies at University of Illinois - Springfield, and will be part of the special event Saturday, October 23, at 10 a.m. at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, 600 N. East St., Bloomington.

Bloomington sculptor Andrew Jumonville’s work is titled, “Convergence of Purpose,” and will be placed in the recently renamed Lincoln Park at the front of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts, located just north of Downtown Bloomington. Jumonville has captured the vibrant personalities of the three men, who are depicted as they appeared in the mid-1800s. More than $200,000 was raised for the project through private and corporate donations, as well as grant funds from the Illinois Lincoln Bicentennial Commission and other sources.

The public is invited to the event, which will include readings of selected Lincoln works by Illinois State University President Al Bowman and Illinois Wesleyan University President Richard Wilson. The IWU Collegiate Choir, under the direction of Dr. J. Scott Ferguson, will perform 19th century songs made popular by America’s first group of protest singers, the Hutchinson Family. The sculptor and those who have contributed to the project will be recognized during the event, which is hosted with support from Milner Library at Illinois State University. Bloomington Mayor Stephen Stockton will host a reception preceding the dedication at 9 a.m.

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County was established as a joint effort between the City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, and the County of McLean for the purpose of spearheading the local observance of the 200th anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, and to celebrate the 16th president’s many connections to McLean County. Since late 2008, the Commission has facilitated and hosted numerous speakers, and special programs, and collaborated with the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site and the McLean County Museum of History to help area residents understand the role our community played in Lincoln’s life and career.

Information provided by the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission of McLean County.

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