Gov. Nathan Deal and Rep. Calvin Smyre (Columbus) announced today that the state has selected Henry County-based sculptor Andy Davis to create the statue of Martin Luther King, Jr. that will stand on Georgia Capitol grounds. The sculpture will be placed on the northeast quadrant of the Capitol grounds overlooking Liberty Plaza. Deal tapped Smyre, Dean of the Georgia General Assembly, earlier this year to head up the effort and act as liaison between the state, the King Estate, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Advisory Council and the Georgia Arts Standards Commission.
“Placing a statue of Dr. King at the Capitol of his home state is a long overdue honor, and selecting an artist is an important step forward in this process,” Deal said. “I am confident that Andy Davis’ past works, including a statue of Ray Charles in the singer’s hometown of Albany, have prepared him well for this historic project. I commend Rep. Smyre for his diligent efforts and leadership on this project and I look forward to seeing the final work of art.”
“We believe the sculpture should capture the essence of Dr. King’s legacy — as a civil rights leader, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, a husband, father and a Georgian,” the King Estate said in a statement. “We also are grateful for Gov. Deal, Rep. Smyre and the other stakeholders who have worked to ensure this memorial appropriately honors Dr. King, a native son of Georgia who left his state, his nation and his world a better place.”
“Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. inspired our nation with his dream of hope, peace, justice, and human rights. I am honored to have played a role during the 2014 Legislative Session in passing House Bill 1080, which authorized the placement of a Capitol-grounds statue honoring Dr. King and was signed into law by Gov. Deal,” said Smyre, who presented the decision on the sculptor to the Georgia Building Authority board this morning. “It is now time for us as a state to make this a reality. Naming Andy Davis as the sculptor is the first step in that process. It was important that a Georgia sculptor be chosen for this historic project. I look forward to working with all the stakeholders as we undertake the statue’s design, likeness and private fundraising efforts.”
Davis began his career as a full-time sculptor in 1999. His works include music legend Ray Charles, the Georgia Police Memorial, Chick-Fil-A founder Truett Cathy, Griffin County founder Gen. Lawrence Griffin and Patrick Henry. He works from the Andy Davis Studio in the Hood Street Arts Center in McDonough. Davis and his wife, Gerri, have two children and reside in McDonough.