Engineering, Artistry & Generosity Focus of Dedication in Ashland, KY

Steve Layman with Ashland Fabricating and Welding, left, and David Hoy, PE, stand in front of the three massive statues dedicated January 3 in Ashland, KY. The artistic and engineering undertaking was made possible by an anonymous donor, who has given the statues to the City.

A dedication held January 3 along the Ohio River at the Port of Ashland, Ashland, KY, celebrated engineering, artistic ability, and generosity. The event focused on three bronze sculptures, which reportedly are among the largest of their type in the United States.

Created by Spanish artist Ginés Serrán-Pagán, the statues depict Venus and Vulcan, with Genesis in the center. Reports in the Ashland Daily Independent state that "Genesis is designed based on images found at Ashland Blazer High School and is symbolic of the city’s faith-based community. Vulcan is depicted hammering on a forge, symbolic of the city’s history with metal and steel. Venus, Vulcan’s wife, offers an Ash tree, symbolizing the city’s natural beauty and love."

The size of the statues -- Venus and Vulcan are approximately 30 feet tall each -- are elevated further by three massive pedestals designed by structural engineer David Hoy, an employee of Chapman Technical Group, a division of GRW, based in St. Albans, WV.

According to Hoy, the pedestals supporting Venus and Vulcan are approximately 8 feet above the ground surface. The pedestal for Genesis, he said, is approximately 13 feet above the ground surface and houses a rotation mechanism.

The pedestals, he said, are constructed of reinforced concrete and are situated upon deep foundations extending 50 feet below the surface. The pedestal walls are veneered with porcelain.

Stunning in the daytime, the sculptures' evening dedication brought attention - as seen in the photo above - to the equally magnificent lighting design. Andy Lilly, a lighting designer with Laface McGovern, used a 3D model that GRW surveyors built using lidar scanning equipment to complete the design. He also used software to determine the size/intensity of lights, their placement, and the quantity required to showcase the art. Lighting colors vary from blue to white to red.

In addition to the lighting, Hoy praised the craftsmanship of the ironwork by Steve Layman, with Ashland Fabricating and Welding.

"It was a lot of fun working with [Layman] who takes such pride in his work," said Hoy, adding, "there were so many talented people who had a hand in making this project successful, and it was a real pleasure working with all of them. It was nice to see everyone who had a hand in making this project a reality take some time to step back and enjoy what they created through either design or hard work."

The entire project and the donation of the art to the City was made possible by the generosity of an anonymous donor. Also, according to the Ashland Daily Independent, "the donor has set up an account with $50,000 for any repairs or maintenance that might have to be done on the structures."

The dedication started with a presentation at the Paramount Arts Center.