Release Date: January 11,2021
Mayor Horrigan Issues Update on Rubber Worker Statue Installation
Popular commemorative brick sales extended through April 2021
Akron, Ohio, January 11, 2021—Today, Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan has announced that the City’s 12 ft. tall bronze Rubber Worker statue will be installed in late spring 2021, due to material and shipping delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Originally planned for a fall 2020 installation, the COVID-19 pandemic caused several delays in the mining and shipping of materials needed for the base of the statue. The statue itself, created by Ohio Sculptor Alan Cottrill, is fully complete.
All of the materials are now in Akron, including the statue’s tiered granite base, shaped like the County of Summit and City of Akron. However, the colder winter weather is not conducive to proper installation. By delaying the installation until the spring, it will allow for a more cost effective and efficient installation in warmer weather. A final date for the installation and unveiling will be announced in advance by the City.
“Installing the granite base in cold weather could compromise structural integrity or increase costs unnecessarily. By delaying the installation of the statue, we also hope to be able to host an outdoor unveiling ceremony and incorporate more public participation, in accordance with then-current health guidelines,” said Director of Public Service, Chris Ludle.
“This statue will stand as a monument to Akron’s rubber history and most importantly to all those men and women whose labor this city was built on,” Mayor Horrigan said. “We want to appropriately honor this important symbol of Akron’s working class ingenuity by allowing the community to participate safely and comfortably in this important occasion.”
The Rubber Worker statue would not be possible without the financial support of local partners including Huntington Bank, FirstEnergy, PNC, Akron Children’s Hospital, GPD Group, and the Office of Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro.
The City has partnered with Art x Love on the Rubber Worker Stories Project, an initiative championed by Akron resident Miriam Ray, to collect audio/visual stories from Akron’s rubber workers and their descendants. These stories are being transcribed and archived in full in the University of Akron’s Rubber Industry Archives. Excerpts from selected stories are also being paired with archival footage for display online and at an interactive kiosk, which will be installed in the Northeast corner of the roundabout on Main St. to coincide with installation of the statue in Spring 2021.
This corner also features an installation of commemorative bricks. These bricks have helped to fund the Rubber Worker Stories Project, pay for the kiosk, and archive the history for future generations. These bricks can be purchased by anyone, and Akron Stories has extended the deadline to purchase bricks until April 30, 2021. They can be purchased online for $100 per brick at https://www.akronstories.com/bricks.
As of today, 1,068 bricks have been sold, 88 interviews have been recorded, thousands of stories have been captured, and dozens more interviews have been scheduled for 2021. Art x Love is currently preparing the interactive kiosk for installation and putting finishing touches on the first batch of 50 stories, with hundreds more in production. The kiosk and website will be continually updated with new stories to encourage future learning and discovery.
The City plans to host a ceremony unveiling the statue sometime in late spring. No new photos will be released until the public unveiling. To purchase a brick or share a story, please visit www.akronstories.com.