By Valerie Baldowski
A local artist has announced plans to create a statue of the historical figure after whom Henry County is named, and donate it to the county.
Andy Davis, owner of Andy Davis Gallery and Studio in McDonough, came before the Henry County Board of Commissioners this week, to outline his plans to create a statue of Patrick Henry.
Patrick Henry served as the first, and the sixth, post-colonial governor of Virginia. His terms of office were from 1776, to 1779, and from 1784, to 1786.
During the commission meeting, Davis used a slide show of his previous sculptures, to explain the process of creating his art work. He said he chose Patrick Henry as a subject because of the high level of respect he has for Henry.
"Throughout the years as a professional sculptor and American artist, I've done artwork pretty much all over the country, and pretty much all over the world. I'm honored to have been doing this," he said. "Patrick Henry was one of the people I've always admired and respected. I just felt, at this time in America, [and] in this wonderful county of ours, it could be a time to create a sculpture as a historical marker to honor Patrick Henry, and the name of Henry County."
Commission Chairman Elizabeth "B.J." Mathis thanked Davis for his offer. "I'm absolutely thrilled with the prospect of having a sculpture of Patrick Henry right here in Henry County," she said. "I can't thank you enough for wanting to head up this project, and bring something of this magnitude to our community."
The commission chairman told Davis he is a valuable member of the local arts community.
"We're placing a lot more emphasis on the arts here in Henry County, and you're playing a vital role in that," Mathis added. "You understand how important it is to promote that in the community, and how it adds to the quality of life, and economic development."
The "larger than life" sculpture will be more than six feet tall, according to Davis. He is starting with a scale model, and will use the model to complete the sculpture. The entire project, he said, is expected to take eight to 12 months to complete.
Davis said the sculpture will be a way for him to fulfill a personal goal he set for himself several years ago. "Patrick Henry [was] an easy decision to make. He was one of the people early on in my career, years ago, I wanted to commemorate in an historical fashion," he said. "I always wanted to honor him in my own way. He was a great American, a great patriot, [and] someone that loved his freedom and his liberty."
Davis said creating the sculpture will cost between $90,000 and $100,000.
He said he has started the process of securing funding for the project, from the business community, as well as private donors.