Thursday, September 30, 2004

Lincoln to stand tall at library

By Andrea Remke
Enquirer staff writer

COVINGTON - History isn't always in the books.

The Mary Ann Mongan library will illustrate that Saturday when a 6 1/2-foot statue of a young Abraham Lincoln is placed on library grounds.

Abe's arrival at the southeast corner of Fifth Street and Scott Boulevard christens the library as the first recipient of the city's Art of Discovery Award.

Ella Brown-Frye, Covington's director of economic development, said city officials and local organizations including the Baker-Hunt Foundation, the Behringer-Crawford Museum and the Carnegie Arts Center conceived the idea to award significant art in the community.

"The city wanted to create a venue to celebrate artists and the art culture," Brown-Frye said.

The bronze statue of the 16th president was sculpted by Northern Kentucky artist Matt Langford, who lives in a 170-year-old log cabin in Union.

Langford said he liked the challenge of depicting a young Abraham Lincoln in simple clothing.

"It takes a little imagination," he said.

Langford said the library is a perfect site for the piece.

"It's a terrific metaphor for the library, Lincoln's self-development. This man - a Kentucky native - of humble origin, through his work ethic and determination, rises to greatness," he said.

Robin Klaene, community relations director for the Kenton County Public Library, said it's an honor to have the statue on the grounds.

"This emphasizes our local history collection," she said.

The statue base will have an enlarged phrase taken from Lincoln's handwriting, Langford said. The engraved plaque will read, "I shall prepare myself. Someday my chance will come."

Langford said the sculpture is designed to inspire.

"I want people to think, 'What can I do? What can I be?' " he said. "I want children to see themselves in this piece."

The unveiling will be 11 a.m. Saturday. A reception will follow in the library's second-floor meeting room.

A Lincoln historian/impersonator will give a program at noon.


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