Snapshots from Rededication of Dr. Martin Luther King Statue

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

Signs of shared purpose, renewed energy, and positive vibes were everywhere Wednesday evening as neighbors who live on or near Fountain Park gathered with St. Louis City and state representatives for a rededication of the 40-year-old Dr. Martin Luther King statue, which had been been restored by AKT Studios.

Partners in the restoration project, which was initiated by the Neighbors of Fountain Park, included 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy, AKT Studios, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. – Epsilon Lambda Graduate Chapter St. Louis, Centennial Christian Church (DOC), St. Louis City Parks Department and The Board of Public Service.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

Those in attendance included Mayor Lyda Krewson, who’s flanked in the photo above by President of the Board of Alderman Lewis Reed, left, and right, Wiley Price, IV, the Democratic nominee for 84th District of the Missouri House of Representatives, which includes a large portion of the CWE. Many other elected officials were in attendance.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy welcomed the large crowd and introduced speakers during The Statue: A Symbol of Hope portion of the program.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

Those included Mayor Lyda Krewson, who commended the neighborhood for working together to strengthen their community. Her comments included references to the legacy of Dr. King and the application of his values to the ongoing challenges of our time.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

President of the Board of Alderman Lewis Reed also referenced Dr. King when he spoke about current efforts to bring new vitality to the neighborhood in and around Fountain Park.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

The bronze statue, sculpted by St. Louisan Rudolph Torrini in 1978, was unveiled by Tony Rocca & Nick Birsa of AKT Studios. In his remarks Rocca said it was a pleasure to work with the community on this project, and promised to stop by every once in a while with a bucket of water to clean the statue.

Coincidentally, Torrini died this week at age 95, on the same day as the rededication. Read about it here: STL Today.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

Kevin Bryant (see previous post here) introduced Reverend Dinah Tatman, right, and thanked her for her quiet support in moving his redevelopment plans for the neighborhood along. He also reminded the crowd that their numbers far exceeded those few who cause problems in the neighborhood, which led to great applause.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

Other speakers included Rabbi Susan Talve of Central Reform Congregation, above, Jerry Hall, a 44-year resident of Fountain Park (not photographed), Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy   and Dr. Lisa Small, principal of Washington Montessori School, located on Euclid just north of Fountain Park.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

After the ceremony Mayor Krewson visited with some of the neighbors.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

One of the highlights of the evening was the appearance of the Gentlemen of Vision, shown waiting to  perform above. The group is led by Marlon Wharton, whose voice you’ll hear on the following video. You’ll also hear him say that the 100 % of the young men graduate from high school and go on to college.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Events, Sightings Urban Gardens  Wiley Price IV Rudolph Torrini Rabbi Susan Talve Mayor Lyda Krewson Lewis Reed Kevin Bryant Fountain Park 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy

There was so much to take away from Wednesday’s event in Fountain Park. Change is definitely happening north of Delmar. One clear observation is that the common perception of the boundaries that define the Central West End must be expanded to include the neighborhood around Fountain Park. Simply debunking the concept of the “Delmar Divide” will go a long way toward accelerating the pace of change. Thanks to the Fountain Park community, Alderman Terry Kennedy, and Kevin Bryant for leading the way.

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