Community Spotlight: Historic Downtown Monroeville, the Literary Capital of Alabama

  
May 9, 2019 | Community Spotlight: Historic Downtown Monroeville, the Literary Capital of Alabama 
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Born in Monroeville, Alabama, Harper Lee wrote the 1960 novel To Kill A Mockingbird, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Bronze sculpture created by Hannah Lincoln.

Last month, the citizens of Monroeville unveiled a public art project that celebrates the community's impact on American literary culture. The Literary Capital Sculpture Trail consists of 14 bronze sculptures on permanent exhibit in Historic Downtown Monroeville honoring the 10 writers credited with making Monroeville/ Monroe County the Literary Capital of Alabama. This trail will help both locals and tourists have a better understanding of the area’s rich literary history while permanently honoring the famous writers through art.

The trail consists of public art pieces that are representative of authors who are from Monroeville. Honorees include Harper Lee, Truman Capote, Cynthia Tucker, Mark Childress, Marva Collins, Rheta Grimsley-Johnson, Riley Kelly, Mike Stewart, William Barret Travis and Hank Williams. The trail is a project of Monroeville Main Street with sponsorship from the City of Monroeville and JWJ Investment Properties. 

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Truman Capote's Hat and Sunglasses. His most famous work, In Cold Blood (1966) announced the “nonfiction novel.” Bronze sculpture created by Morgan Harrison.

"Using public art is an innovative way to tell the story of Monroeville while at the same time creating a vibrant sense of place. We are more than thrilled with the project concept, partnerships with the University of Alabama and those within the City of Monroeville as well as the expressions of public art by students. This project is steeped in authenticity, a goal that is a cornerstone for successful Main Street Alabama Designated Communities," said Mary Helmer, President/State Coordinator of Main Street Alabama.

The sculptures were created by artists through the University of Alabama Department of Art & Art History Sculpture program under the direction of Professor Craig Wedderspoon. “We are honored here at the University of Alabama Department of Art & Art History Sculpture program to be a part of this event honoring the many acclaimed writers that have come out of Monroeville, Alabama,” he said. monroeville_.jpg

The trail will educate locals and tourists of Monroeville's rich literary history. “A sculpture trail honoring all of our writers who made us Alabama’s Literary Capital has been a goal of the Monroeville Main Street program since 2015,” said Anne Marie Bryan, executive director of Monroeville Main Street. “We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Professor Wedderspoon and his students at the University of Alabama Department of Art & Art History on this project. Our Design and Promotion committees selected themes to honor each writer and the sculptors have created beautiful bronze works of art which successfully illustrate those themes. This trail will help both locals and tourists have a better understanding of the area’s rich literary history while permanently honoring our writers through art.”

Click here to view a map of the sculpture trail and information about the writers and artists. 

Submitted by Monroeville Main Street

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