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Artist selected for Mayor’s memorial to honor San Antonio’s war heroes

SAN ANTONIO, TX.- On March 14 City Council approved a $50,000 contract with Barbara Grygutis Sculpture LLC, for the conceptual design of a memorial to honor local Medal of Honor recipients in the Veterans Memorial Plaza Historic District (formally known as Auditorium Circle Historic District).

Mayor Phil Hardberger commissioned the City’s Veterans Affairs Commission (VAC) to create a memorial to honor local recipients. After the VAC recommended placing the memorial in the Veteran’s Plaza area, city staff then conducted a national public art search to identify an artist to create a design for the project.

A call for artists went out in July 2007 and the city received responses from 31 artists. A five-member selection panel, consisting of a representative from the VAC, the Public Arts Committee, the Convention & Visitors Commission and the City’s Public Art Division and Economic Development Department, met to review the responses and selected four finalists to submit conceptual design proposals. After evaluating and interviewing the four finalists, the panel recommended Barbara Grygutis Sculpture LLC of Tuscon, Arizona, to design the memorial.

Grygutis is nationally renowned for creating and planning public works of art, including urban master plans. Some of her projects include public plazas, urban enhancement projects, gateways, sculpture gardens, memorials, monuments and roadway improvements. One of her most notable projects is the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial in Columbia, Missouri.

The estimated cost for construction will range from approximately $600,000 to $1 million. In April, the City will kick-off a private fundraising effort for the memorial.

“We all know this Medal of Honor project will not come without a cost,” said Mayor Hardberger. “But it’s nothing in comparison to the ultimate sacrifice of the lives paid by those heroes we’re honoring.”

During the council meeting, Mayor Hardberger stated that he had received the first contribution of $10,000 from Louis Stumberg, a long-standing local supporter of the military in San Antonio. The City plans to complete the project by May 2009.

Councilwoman Mary Alice Cisneros wholeheartedly added her support for the project which sits in District 1. All of the other council members also expressed their support for the project. When the original Vietnam Veterans site was built in 1983 it cost $650,000. The memorial was primarily funded by five to $10 individual donations from members of the local community.

This latest addition is another project that will complement Riverwalk expansion and the potential Performing Arts Center at Municipal Auditorium. It will not only create a concentration of military memorials in San Antonio, but will be another City attraction that will draw tourists and locals to the area.