Here she is, the Lady Liberty statue, or at least the artist Emily Bedard’s best approximation from the rare photos that remain of the original. She was unveiled Friday evening at Dragone Classic Motorcars (hence the cool antique autos in the background).
The original was destroyed on its perch atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Seaside Park, Bridgeport, 40 years ago. (Hey, I was only 5 at the time, so don’t look at me.)
This new piece, at six-feet-six and 170 pounds, which we’re told isn’t as fragile as it looks, will be rededicated 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 18, at the point where the monument base and cannon are.
But how did this all come about? The right people came together at the right time.
Thomas Errichetti, treasurer of Friends of Seaside Park, was the catalyst for the restoration project, according to the Connecticut Post:
Errichetti said that the statue project would be the final undertaking of Friends of Seaside Park, which will soon be disbanded, since many of its most ardent members have either moved away or died.
With the statue finally replaced, “our mission is accomplished” as an organization, he said. By restoring the monument to its former glory, “we are paying homage to the memories of those who died in the Civil War, to our heroes.” And a restored monument also will add luster to Seaside Park, “which, I believe, to be one of the city’s real jewels.”
When Errichetti began his artist search, he turned to Suzanne Kachmar [executive director of City Lights Gallery] for recommendations. Kachmar, in turn, suggested that Errichetti speak with her friend, Lyme Academy instructor James Reed, who recommended Bedard.
In a recent chat from her Milton, Vt., home-studio, artist Bedard, 23, said that she has been working on creating the new statue for about a year — ever since winning the commission last spring, a few weeks prior to graduating from the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme.
Bedard initially designed a statue in clay, from which a mold was made. Using that mold, a permanent statue has been created using a lightweight gypsum polymer reinforced with fiberglass — a common combination for architectural detail work, she said. “It’s a cheap but durable” process, that will mimic the original white marble quite well, she said.