Artist throws weapons for Memorial Plaza sculpture – The Advocate-Messenger

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Sculptor artist Guy Tedesco spent Thursday at the Bluegrass Art Center casting the arms of first responders and community members for his Memorial Plaza sculpture.

The sculpture will be in front of the new Danville Fire and Rescue Hall to honor those who have served or sacrificed for the community. It uses a steel artifact from one of the World Trade Center towers destroyed on September 11, 2001.

Five arms will be cast in bronze, and will be placed on a vertical monument. The arms will lift and hold the square artifact. There will also be glass thumbprints around the sculpture of first responders and others who have served the community.

The town of Danville asked community members and first responders to submit their names to have their weapons cast, and the names were chosen at random. Two participants had family members who died in the line of duty.

One of them is Ruth Ryan, whose stepfather James Ryan died as a police officer in 1968. Sergeant James Ryan of the Danville Police Department was shot dead while responding to a burglary call on South Fourth Street.

He died in hospital the next day and the suspect was later acquitted. James had worked in the police department for 26 years and was due to retire two months after being shot. The former Danville Fire and Police Department building is named after James and others who gave their lives.

“I wanted something to honor these men who gave their lives for the town of Danville,” Ruth said. “They need something for the kids to learn about what happened in the city.”

Albert Taylor, who killed a family member in the line of duty, has his arm cast by Guy Tedesco at the arts center. – Photo by Mary Beth Murray.

Others whose weapons were cast include Albert Taylor, who had a family member killed in the line of duty; Jayla Pennycuff, who works at the 911 dispatch center; Aaron Rainwater of the Danville Police Department; and Greg Reams of the Danville Fire Department.

Tedesco used self-removing silicone rubber molding for the arm molds. He spread the thick, liquid rubber over the arms in three layers, which dried quickly. After plastering the rubber, the molds slipped off the participants’ arms.

The molds were able to model the details and shape of people’s arms, which will be transferred to finished bronze products.

Tedesco said the sculpture would stand the test of time, as bronze lasts over 5,000 years.

“You can rest assured knowing that this legacy is being honored for generations to come,” Tedesco said.

Tedesco chose this project because the 9/11 disaster is close to its heart. He lived and worked in New York for seven years and walked through the World Trade Center every day.

“As I watched the towers get hit and fall, it really moved me and I felt like my own home was being destroyed,” Tedesco said.

“So to be able to give back to a community and to be able to help a community speak out, to honor their own first responders, to show that these are families, not just individuals, these are generations of families, and it’s very important that we honor and recognize it.

Tedesco has created many monumental metal sculptures, both in this country and in nine others, including the Vatican in Rome. He currently lives and practices just outside of Louisville.

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