The Miles Davis Memorial Committee will unveil a sculpture of world-renowned jazz musician, Miles Davis, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, on West Third Street in downtown Alton. Festivities will begin at 5 p.m.
ALTON — The Miles Davis Memorial Project committee is inviting Greater Alton residents and fans from around the world to attend a Sept. 12 unveiling ceremony and celebration of the completion of the statue of renowned musician Miles Dewey Davis III.
Visitors walking on West Third Street in downtown Alton may have noticed construction taking place for the music plaza where the Davis sculpture will be located. The stone wall, which will surround the music staff design, is under way and sculptor Preston Jackson is preparing the mold in preparation for the final phase of pouring the bronze. Visitors who listen closely can hear the sounds of jazz fill the air from the radio of Jeff Walker as he and his father, Gerald Walker, of Walker Masonry and Contracting, meticulously place the stones.
“This has certainly been a journey and I’m always surprised by the people you meet that are avid jazz fans,” said Pat Ackman, a member of the board of directors of Pride Inc. and chair of the Miles Davis Memorial Project committee. “This project is flowing with music from both the construction site in Alton and the studio of Preston Jackson in Peoria.”
Recently the project has received generous donations from the community that assures completion of the project.
“I am in awe and humbled with the generosity of this community,” Ackman said. “It has always been the committee’s intention that it be a project to bring our community together and we feel that‘s been accomplished.”
The project began with two people voicing their ideas. The first suggestion for a statue came from Tom Raglin, a Greater Alton resident and a member of the Miles Davis Jazz Committee of the Alton Museum of History and Art. Raglin also is responsible for getting the Miles Davis postage stamp issued and he introduced the committee to artist Preston Jackson, who has family ties to both the Raglins and the McLemores.
The second idea came from David Ackman, son of Pat Ackman. David, a musician, indicated Davis should be recognized because he was born in Alton and was one of the modern era’s most influential musicians. David said if Alton has a statue of the tallest man in the world, there should be a statue of one of the most influential musicians in the world. That question prompted Pat to research and ultimately bring those two ideas together as one. Karen Wilson volunteered to co-chair the formation of the committee of the Miles Davis Memorial Project. Pride Inc. viewed the project as falling within their organization’s mission of community beautification and improvement. They provided the start-up funds and administrative support for the project. Also, they plan to landscape the small garden area at the plaza site.
Details for the unveiling festivities are in the planning stages and will be released soon. A limited number of memorial program booklets will be created for the event and ads are available for purchase: $50 (business card), $100 (quarter page), $150 (half page) and $200 (full page). For information, call Pride Inc. at (618) 467-2375 or email email@example.com.