That great big sculpture you've passed today in front of the Statehouse Convention Center is the work of Michael Warrick and Aaron Hussey, the culmination of a project many years in the making.
The glass and steel sculpture, "Straight Lines on a Round World," celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Louisiana Purchase survey, begun Oct. 27, 1815, in Arkansas. Warrick, professor of sculpture at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, and Louisiana sculptor Hussey were commissioned to do the work by the Committee for Louisiana Purchase Survey Bicentennial Monument.
The committee, headed by John Gill
and Sharon Priest
, had hoped to dedicate the sculpture last October, but Hussey was a victim of the flooding in Baton Rouge. Priest said she hopes the sculpture can be dedicated this month.
It's an anniversary of a sort as well for Gill and Priest, who in 2002 walked the baseline of the Louisiana Purchase survey from the mouth of the St. Francis River to the marker at Lousiana Purchase State Park
outside Brinkley. A committee had been formed the previous year to trace the route of the survey in Eastern Arkansas. Priest said the original committee started raising funds 12 years ago. "We had donors who have been extremely patient," she said.
In a Facebook post, Warrick wrote, "A big shout out goes to [committee members] John Gill, Sharon Priest, Dean Kumpuris, Ron Maxwell and Bill Ruck. Thanks also to the great folks at the LRCVB [Little Rock Convention and Visitors Bureau] and for our many financial contributors and Brenda Maudlin who helped in the final days of finding funds." Ruck is a surveyor with Garver and Garver engineers.
The sculpture is a gift to the city.