A ceremony dedicates a new statue to the library


Posted on October 19, 2022

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A ceremony dedicates a new statue to the library

HAMMONDSPORT–The Fred & Harriett Taylor Memorial Library has long been a mainstay of the Hammondsport community, dating back to 1876. Closer 150 years old, it has undergone many changes, none more significant than its move to 21 William St. in 2007 in a brand new building.
This building was the dream of Katherine S. Meade, a visionary whose dedication and drive helped raise funds and ensure its success. And while the Hammondsport community lost Katherine too soon in February 2021, her legacy has continued in the work the library has done for patrons, the city and all who walk through the doors.
It was because of this legacy that the library had hoped to find a way to honor her memory at the site that was so important to her.
Katherine had always liked the bronze statues outside other libraries that depicted children reading and often considered buying one for Hammondsport. When friends and the Meade family heard about it, it seemed like the ball had already started rolling to get such a statue in her honor. The library was told that private donors would generously fund the statue if the board and staff found an artist and organized the process.
The library board launched a nationwide search for the perfect sculptor for the piece. It was to be bronze and the donors had requested that it be Katherine and her three grandchildren Ashley Meade, Joey Meade and Ada Crane. After much research and discussion with different artists, it turned out that the obvious and absolute best choice was waiting on the other side of Lake Keuka.
Dexter Benedict is a bronze sculptor with an MFA from Greensboro College in North Carolina who has taught both as an art teacher at Keuka College and also as a private sculptor creating pieces for organizations and private buyers across the country.
In his studio, Fire Works Foundry, his process begins with photos of the subject from as many angles as possible. From there, he renders a clay likeness that he can continue to manipulate until he and the commissioner are satisfied with the results. He then creates a plaster mold, brushes it with wax, and is able to pour molten bronze into the mold. Once all the parts are cast, the entire statue is carefully welded together for the final result.
The final statue of Katherine’s Library carries the balance of Dexter’s artistic choices where clay is layered and scraped giving depth and texture while featuring the likeness of Katherine and her grandchildren.
On Saturday, October 15, the library hosted the unveiling of the new sculpture, which adorns a terrace on the Shethar Street side of the building. Nearly 100 guests from the Meade family, friends, former and current library board members and staff gathered for the ceremony.
The library invites visitors and residents to view the statue and stop to learn more about Katherine, and have a cup of coffee and a good book! All are welcome at the library, Katherine would certainly agree.
See www.hammondsportlibrary.org and www.facebook.com/HammondsportPublicLibrary for more information on the Fred & Harriett Taylor Memorial Library.


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