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Giant Lincoln sculpture coming to Springfield

State Journal Register

Wednesday, May 15, 2019  |  Article  |  Brenden Moore

After stints in front of Tribune Tower in Chicago and Peoria Riverfront Museum, an outsize sculpture of Abraham Lincoln will make its debut in Springfield next week.

 

The 31-foot-tall, 19-ton painted bronze sculpture — named “Return Visit” — features Lincoln standing with a modern-day man who is holding the Gettysburg Address.

 

The sculpture will be located in front of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum starting May 22 and will remain until September 2020.

 

Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau executive director Scott Dahl said the foundation that owns the sculpture contacted the city last week to see if it was interested. With things still being finalized up until late in the day Tuesday, Dahl informed Springfield City Council members at the end of their committee meeting that evening.

 

“This is unique, it’s an Instagram-able moment,” Dahl said. “When you see this thing and if you look at some photos online, you’ll see kids love it, they adore it, they want their picture in front of it. It’s just one more item to bring to Springfield when you’re visiting Springfield in the summer.”

 

Dahl said the total cost of bringing the sculpture to town will be about $24,000, with the visitors bureau and ALPLM both chipping in. He said the SCVB plans to incorporate the statue into its 2020 summer marketing campaign.

 

While initially offered to the city for six months, Dahl said they pushed to keep it for an extra year.

 

“We really needed it for two summers to build a campaign,” Dahl said.

 

The sculpture was created by Seward Johnson, whose other work includes sculptures of Marilyn Monroe and of a couple standing with a pitchfork in homage to the famous Grant Wood painting.

 

The sculpture’s most recent stop was the Peoria Riverfront Museum, where it was featured as part of an exhibition celebrating the state’s bicentennial.