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Project honoring retired chief justice is exceeding expectations

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The art project to honor retired Indiana Chief Justice Randall T. Shepard is continuing to draw contributions as the unveiling of the winning design nears.  

Initiated by the inaugural class of the Indiana State Bar Association Leadership Development Academy, the project is working to create an original piece of interactive art that will be displayed in the new Bicentennial Park in Evansville, Shepard’s hometown. Along with commemorating Shepard’s years of public service, the work is supposed to be something that youngsters can play on and around.  

The project’s steering committee issued a call last fall to students and faculty in colleges and universities around the state to submit ideas. A total of five proposals were turned in but Casey Kannenberg, LDA graduate and member of the steering committee, said despite the low number, the quality of the designs was exceptional.

“The committee was very impressed,” Kannenberg said. “The level of creativity and skill was at or exceeded expectations.”

The committee narrowed the selections down to two and asked the finalists to make some changes then resubmit their designs by Feb. 1. Shortly thereafter, the winner will be announced and the design unveiled.

Originally, the LDA class was hoping to have the artwork installed by the time the Bicentennial Park was opened July 4. However, the construction of the downtown park has been delayed so the artwork’s completion date has been pushed back as well.

Both the park and the artwork are expected to be competed this year.

The materials used to build the piece will be upgraded thanks to a boom in fundraising. To date, the project has raised over $40,000, nearly doubling its initial goal of $25,000.

Contributions are coming from a variety of sources. The LDA class has focused its fundraising efforts on the Evansville community, asking businesses and law firms for their support. The class is hoping to create a sense of ownership of the artwork in the Ohio River town.  

In addition, Kannenberg said, the class has sent letters to all the chief justices in the other 49 states soliciting contributions in honor of their brother on the bench.

“We’re starting to sense what’s going to be the end of the tunnel rather than questions and unknowns,” Kannenberg said.

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