Hundreds came out to Waterfront Park last night for the dedication a new statue of Abraham Lincoln by Louisville-based sculptor Ed Hamilton. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer was there.

A 50-piece orchestra was on hand for the ceremony to play Aaron Copeland’s “A Lincoln Portrait.” The ceremony celebrated the statue that depicts Lincoln imagined during his 1841 visit to Louisville, when he saw slavery in action.

lincoln-statue-005-bSculptor Ed Hamilton says this project taught him a lot about the 16th President of the United States.

“I saw the compassion that I didn’t know about Lincoln in the beginning,” Hamilton said. “This man came from nothing and had a consciousness and yet able to come through the grind of slavery and civil war.”

Artist Juliet Ehrlich worked with Hamilton to create walls with raised sculptures, called bas relief, that depict Lincoln and slavery.

“He had some loose sketches of where he wanted to go and we were phenomenal collaborators,” Ehrich said. “He gave me a huge measure of freedom once he saw my design strengths.”

Lindy Casebier of Kentucky’s Cabinet of Tourism, Arts and Heritage was there. He says the work is a powerful rendering of our history.

“Ed Hamilton’s work and this statue, it sends a message across Kentucky, what we’re working for in the cabinet and with the Arts Council that public art does matter and this is a legacy that will live forever,” Casebier said.

The ceremony was part of this year’s bicentennial celebrations of Lincoln’s birth near Hodgenville, Ky.