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31 apply for Daisy Gatson Bates, Johnny Cash sculptures

Don Gonyea (far right, in vest) interviewing Johnny Cash in 1981.
NPR
Don Gonyea (far right, in vest) interviewing Johnny Cash in 1981.

Fifteen people applied to design and cast Bates' statue, and Cash's statue received 16 applications, which were submitted to the secretary of state's office.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - More than 30 sculptors applied to create statues of Little Rock Nine mentor Daisy Gatson Bates and musician Johnny Cash, which are tentatively planned to be displayed in Washington, D.C., late next year.

Fifteen people applied to design and cast Bates' statue, and Cash's statue received 16 applications, which were submitted to the secretary of state's office. The statues are to represent Arkansas in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Thursday.

The sculptors' selection committee includes the National Statuary Hall steering committee and the Capital Arts and Grounds Commission, said Kurt Naumann, director of administration for the secretary of state.

"The selection process may take several months," Naumann said Tuesday in written statement. "I'm hoping for the first of March to select the three finalists, have them make clay models, select the finalist, then negotiate the contract."

The state has appropriated $750,000 for the project, but that will be reevaluated after the sculptors' contracts are completed, Naumann said. The project has garnered $146,025 in contributions, said Stacy Hurst, the secretary of the state Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

The sculptures' tentative deadline for completion is Dec. 31, 2021, but that could be extended.