Baby TALK and Empowerment Opportunity Center Announce Sculpture Unveiling
Decatur, IL – (JANUARY 18, 2022) Baby TALK and Empowerment Opportunity Center are pleased to invite the community to view a new sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. which was installed in front of their shared building located at 355 E. Marietta Street in Decatur, IL. The sculpture was a gift from the Howard G. Buffett Foundation to the non-profit agencies, the families enrolled in their programs and was unveiled to the public at 8:00am on January 18, 2022 as staff, and families arrived for the day. “We are so incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation and for this beautiful sculpture which is a visual representation of the strength and courage we witness every day as we come alongside the families enrolled in our programs,” said Cindy Bardeleben, Executive Director of Baby TALK.
The bronze sculpture of Martin Luther King, Jr. and two children stands at 8ft 8 in tall and was commissioned from Littleton Alston; an Omaha, Nebraska based artist and Creighton University associate professor of sculpture. Known for creating works of art that focus on the essence of the human figure and spirit, Mr. Alston is the first African American to create a work displayed in the National Statuary Hall at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. The 7-foot bronze likeness of renowned author Willa Cather will represent the state of Nebraska to millions of visitors from all over the world.
“Sculpture is the vehicle through which I believe I can best express the joys and sorrows of the human condition. I have always had an affinity for working in metal, and have developed experience and expertise with various mediums, ranging from fabricated stainless steel to cast bronze.” said Alston (Modern Arts Midtown 2012) “Whether creating an abstract work in steel or a representational figurative sculpture in bronze, it is my hope that the beauty and power of sculpted forms which I find so compelling is conveyed to those who view my work.”
The sculpture honors Martin Luther King’s legacy and a good reminder to reflect on the work that still needs to be done for racial equality in our community and across the globe. “We are grateful to the Howard G. Buffett Foundation for this gift to our community, which will stand as a daily reminder to strive for equal opportunity for all,” said Tara Murray, Executive Director of Empowerment Opportunity Center. Baby TALK and Empowerment Opportunity Center staff will celebrate the surprise unveiling of the sculpture by engaging in meaningful classroom activities and families will receive age-appropriate books to take home.
About Baby TALK
Founded in 1986, Baby TALK is an educational, non-profit organization based in Decatur, IL whose mission is to positively impact child development by nurturing healthy and responsive relationships during the critical early years. Baby TALK believes relationships in the earliest years matter and community systems are key to providing opportunities for all children and families to reach full potential. In addition to programs accessible to prenatal mothers and families with children birth – three, Baby TALK is an evidence-based, research-informed model, approach and curriculum implemented in over 100 active programs nationwide.
About Empowerment Opportunity Center
Empowerment Opportunity Center’s mission is to provide opportunities that empower people facing financial instability to reach economic self-reliance and an improved quality of life, and to advocate for those we serve alongside community partners. Empowerment Opportunity Center envisions a community where everyone works together to eliminate poverty; empower all people to reach economic self-reliance; and help senior citizens live independently with dignity and respect. The Empowerment Opportunity Center offers Early Childhood Services, Energy Services, and Community Services. Our programs include Anna Waters Head Start, LIHEAP, Weatherization, Job Training and Employment Supports, Homeless Services, and Senior Services.