This morning passersby learned why a section in the southeastern quadrant of Linn Park had been getting modified since just before this year’s Magic City Art Connection in April. Wednesday afternoon will give those venturing into the city’s oldest park the chance to see the face of the person who originally paid for it to be built and learn more about one of Birmingham’s founding fathers.
The approximately 800-pound statue of Charles Linn, commissioned by the Alabama-Mississippi chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society as part of their 12th annual Legacy of Leadership campaign, and donated to the city, was created by local artist Branko Medenica and hoisted into place Tuesday morning, May 28. A formal unveiling of the statue is scheduled for 12 p.m. Wednesday, May 29.
The city’s Parks and Recreation Board granted approval for the statue to be placed on city property last year. The finished piece stands eight feet tall and sits on a five-foot tall pedestal with plaques identifying the primary donors and a brief biography of the man considered by most to be a founding father of Birmingham. The statue is based on a painting of Linn hanging in the Linn-Henley Research Library located on the other side of the park, though Linn Park’s newest resident will be bearded (the painting shows Linn clean-shaven).
While Medenica was “deeply honored” for the opportunity to create the sculpture, the commission has particular significance to him, especially because of who was responsible for funding the piece. “I have a sister-in-law who died of MS, so this [commission] has some personal meaning for me,” he said.
Wednesday’s dedication and unveiling ceremony is part of local activities recognizing World MS Day. It will also serve as the official launch of legacyarttrail.com, a microsite highlighting other public works of art commissioned to recognize past Legacy of Leadership Award honorees located throughout the city of Birmingham. The NMSS chapter has been selecting and honoring local community leaders to recognize through its Legacy of Leadership campaign since 1997, enabling them to also raise several hundreds of thousands of dollars for MS research projects at UAB.
Participants will be encouraged to check-in on Facebook for coupons and prizes at each of the locations as well as where they need to go next.