Sculpture commissioned of Starr and Beverly
With more than two-thirds of the funding needed, the Friends of Starr Ward and Beverly Hazelwood commissioned sculptor Alex Palkovich to proceed with a statue he conceived honoring them. The statue has Beverly sitting in front of a floating piano keyboard looking up at Starr holding her violin. The Friends committee feels that this statue will be a fitting memorial to the legacy of the two women who worked tirelessly for 15 years to ensure that Florence would have a modern performing arts center.
The dream was fulfilled in 2011 when the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center opened on South Dargan Street. The larger-than-life sculpture will cost $140,000. To date the committee has raised over $100,000 which includes support from the families of Beverly and the late Starr Ward. “Everything is going well,” commented Townsend Holt, chairman of the Friends Committee. Other members include Ann Rodgers Chandler, Joyce Dalsbo, Jill Lewis, Shirley Imbeau, Shirley Meiere, Chip Munn, Ellen Pearson, Lalla Saleeby, Nick Townsend and Barry Wingard.
An internationally acclaimed sculptor, Alex Palkovich has won numerous awards, including a national award from the American Institute of Commemorative Art in 2009 for his installation in Florence Veterans Park and a People’s Choice Award from the National Sculpture Society in 2013. He also was honored with a British Design Award in 1987. Alex is a member of the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists and served three years as vice president. He is also a member of the Oxford Art Society, AMSA and in 2010 became the first elected member of the National Sculpture Society from South Carolina.
Alex was born in the trans-Carpathian Mountains, now a part of the Ukraine. As a mechanical engineer, he managed companies in the design and production of advanced medical equipment in Mexico, the United States, Israel and the UK. As his business career flourished, so did his artistic career as he sculpted and exhibited throughout the world prior to retiring as a CEO with GE in 2007 to become a fulltime sculptor.
Alex and his wife Aggie call Florence and Israel home. For more information visit his website at www.alexpalkovich.com. Alex says he will begin this week working on a three-foot model of the sculpture similar to the maquette he completed last year. He plans to have the statue finished in time for an unveiling at the 2017 Arts International Festival.
The location for the statue has not been decided, but it will be in the downtown area. The Florence Downtown Development Corporation has agreed to let the committee use its 501(c)(3) status for the project. Donations are being accepted to help pay for the statue. Checks should be made payable to FDDC Statue of Starr and Beverly, and sent to Friends of Starr and Beverly, P.O. Box 13915. Florence, S.C. 29504.