WIUM Tristates Public Radio

A New Lincoln Attraction for Macomb

Oct 24, 2019

The Macomb Area Convention and Visitors Bureau (MACVB) is working with local artist Duke Oursler to create a stainless steel sculpture of Abraham Lincoln. But this won’t be just another sculpture; the plan calls for a bit of pizzazz.

“It’s a topiary sculpture, which means that there are flowers that grow from the beard of Lincoln all summer. So there will be wonderful colors in the beard,” said Oursler, who is an Associate Professor of Sculpture in the Department of Art and Design at Western Illinois University.

He said the sculpture will have an internal irrigation system to ensure the flowers get water.

The estimated cost of the project is $32,000.  Oursler said both of the community’s rotary clubs are involved in raising money and getting a grant for it.

A rough sketch of the piece
Credit Courtesy Duke Oursler

Jock Hedblade, Executive Director of the MACVB, told the Macomb City Council the sculpture will be about 15 feet tall and about 11 feet wide.

“We would like to put it on the grounds here of City Hall. We think that’s a great space for it. It gets us close here to downtown. It brings a little attention to this building,” said Hedblade. He also said representatives from the Looking for Lincoln National Heritage Area are excited about the project.

“They were very impressed with what we showed them.”

Aldermen will be asked to allow project organizers to install a cement base for the sculpture. Hedblade and Oursler hoped to receive permission as soon as possible so the base can be done before winter weather sets in.

They hope to unveil the sculpture in April, 2020.

The sculpture is part of what is dubbed the Macomb Permanent Attraction Initiative, which will be done in three phases: