A split between backers of a Utah County-based push to build a 300-foot Statue of Responsibility has been resolved, and supporters are moving ahead with efforts to construct the monument on America’s West Coast.
"It’s not just about building a statue; it’s about creating a movement of responsibility in our nation," said Tony Allen, a Florida events producer and marketing consultant who heads the board of the newly formed Responsibility Foundation Inc.
"Despite the previous foundation not being able to get off the ground," he said, "we just want to pick it up and run with it — it’s such a great idea."
The plans come after the earlier foundation’s former president, Daniel Bolz, abandoned his pursuit of a rival project in the wake of a split with the Utah County sculptor who designed the statue.
"I’m out of the statue industry, as it were," Bolz said. "I’m going back to my roots in education and business."
Bolz said he has resigned from the effort and has no plans to pursue a copyright claim on the statue’s design. He will instead focus on an unspecified new business. He declined to comment on the settlement between the two sides.
The remaining backers, including sculptor Gary Lee Price, have formed the new foundation to pursue the vision of building a companion to the Statue of Liberty. Registered in California and awaiting final 501(c)3 approval from the IRS, the new foundation says it holds the copyrights for Price’s columnlike monument depicting an uplifted hand clasping another from above.
Price is hosting regular meetings at his Mapleton studio to build support, and Allen said they’ve secured 11 donors committed to giving $50,000 each. The group is aiming to build the statue at an undetermined location in 2020, complete with grounds that would offer education about differing meanings of the concept.
"The dialogue that we want to create around responsibility in our nation and the world is that liberty plus responsibility equals our freedom," Allen said. "Without responsibility, freedom is not possible."
The project is estimated to cost between $300 million and $400 million, and would include a large event venue Allen compared to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
The idea comes from late Austrian author and concentration camp survivor Viktor Frankl, who formed a committee of people to bring the concept to life, including late business guru Stephen Covey. Price came on board in 1997 and later helped bring Bolz into the project.
It garnered support from the Utah Legislature and former Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, but fundraising languished as the years wore on. By last year, the original foundation had only donated services on its books, with an estimated value of $1.1 million.
Price and his supporters blamed Bolz and last year moved on without him; his wife, Leesa Clark Price, said at an event to unveil a prototype of the statue at Utah Valley University that he’d been replaced.
But Bolz vigorously shot back, saying the foundation retained the copyrights to the name and design. Though he declined to comment on how his plans to find another sculptor proceeded, Bolz said he wishes the continued effort well.
"My time with the project was a high point for me and my career," he said, "and I wish and I hope to one day see the monument on the West Coast."
Allen said he got involved after seeing a group of young boys mocking a war veteran at a political event in his home state of Florida back in 1998.
"We never want to be held up as an example of responsibility, but we want to make sure we operate that way … we always want to be transparent, forthright and honest about what we’re doing," he said. "We’re still gaining steam … so many people are interested, responsible individuals who want to make this world a better place."
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