"Live sculpted" in a Utah Valley University building, a 15-foot prototype of a proposed 300-foot Statue of Responsibility for America's west coast was unveiled Thursday.
UVU President Matthew Holland spoke to about 25 people at a ceremony at the Losee Center, where Utah sculptor Gary Lee Price has been working on the project in the atrium for nearly a year.
Working in front of students, professors and passers-by was new for Price. "To sculpt the whole thing right there, I was quite apprehensive," he said.
But he came to appreciate the chance to chat with people and get a new perspective on the work. "Your eye is only good for a few minutes at a time … I chose to sculpt during the middle of the day, so I could get more interaction. I really found it delightful."
The statue depicts one hand grasping another from above. The future full-size version is envisioned as a companion for the Statue of Liberty in New York, and more than 15 years after the project began, its supporters have found a California home for it. But a spokeswoman for the Statue of Responsibility Foundation declined to identify the location.
Leesa Clark-Price said the city's leaders asked the group to sign non-disclosure agreements for planning purposes. She expects the location to be announced "around" July 4.
"The city is already very, very interested in having the project," she said. "This city actually reached out to us."
The clay prototype was coated in plaster and blue rubber to create a mold that was removed during the unveiling ceremony Thursday. The mold will be used to create a 15-foot, stainless steel version of the statue for the campus, expected to be completed by fall. Leaders of the Statue of Responsibility Foundation envision copies "at every campus around the country."
"It has been quite a marriage with UVU," said Clark-Price. "We've spoken to many classes, from business to art, as well as families coming by."
The statue was conceived 40 years ago by Austrian author and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, in the bestselling book Man's Quest for Meaning. He envisioned a west coast companion to the Statue of Liberty to signify that "liberty must co-exist with responsibility to maintain freedom," according to the foundation's website.
Before his death, Frankl formed a committee to bring his idea to life, including late business guru Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Price was approached about creating the sculpture in 1997.
"It helps me realize after doing this 15-footer and all of the recognition…that the 300-footer is going to happen," he said. "I just have that confidence now."
The Utah Legislature passed a resolution expressing support for the project in 2010.
The foundation has recently replaced Daniel Bolz as president and CEO, but Clark-Price also declined to name the group's new leader.
The cost of the project has been estimated at $300 million. The Washington Post reported that $200,000 had been collected by 2010, but this week, Clark-Price said there only "has been a couple million [in in-kind services] raised through Daniel Bolz."
The statue's theme is all-encompassing, said Clark-Price.
It will "create a movement for responsibility for education, for our veterans, responsibility for our kids, to make this a better world to live in," she said. "It's definitely not just a message for America. This is a global message."