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The mission of the Covid-19 Sculpture Memorial Park is to commemorate the lives of those, who based on statistics, should not have died. This includes those under 45 years old with no preexisting conditions who were traumatically lost in the 2020 worldwide pandemic. Over this quarantine I found myself in a deep social media hole stumbling on celebrity trainer, Amanda Kloots. Kloots and her husband, Nick Cordero, a 41 yr-old Broadway star, were settling down in Los Angeles with their infant, Elvis, back in March when Cordero got diagnosed with Covid-19. During his 95 day battle, Cordero was put on a ventilator, spent six weeks in a medically induced coma, and lost his right leg due to severe blood clotting. On July 5th, Cordero not only left behind his wife and son, but he left behind the very real story that this disease can fatally affect young people, with no pre-existing health conditions. Cordero’s tragic departure inspired me to focus on his story, in addition to nine others who passed suddenly due to Covid.
As someone who has been living in the south during this time, it is like living in a parallel universe where nothing ever happened. As I see my friends go back to their schools in the SEC, posting pictures and videos at concerts, crowded bars and restaurants it makes me think about the small, but growing, percentage of young, healthy people who are losing their lives. That is why the Covid-19 Sculpture Memorial Park will be immersed into the University of Alabama’s front quad. These schools in addition to the state of Alabama itself, where masks aren’t required, have been notorious for not taking the pandemic seriously. The park will be subtly integrated into the quad and will be functional as it offers seating arrangements. My goal is to not only inform those on campus of what has been happening, and show them that the disease doesn't just affect the older population, but to evoke empathy for the lives tragically lost and offer a gathering place for others to remember.
Each sculpture is unique to the individual and represents that they will not be forgotten. The double bench sculpture, in image 2, represents the “emergency” symbol, as Israel Tolentino Jr. was a firefighter and volunteer EMT. The conceptualized music note in image 3, symbolizes Oliver Stokes, who was a high school coordinator but loved to DJ on the weekends. Dez-Ann Romain was a highschool principal who was the first New York City public school official to die from Covid-19. Her sculpture, in image 4, represents the first among the many, in the New York City public school system to pass, and that we will remember her along with the others.
Each figure contributed so much to their community and left behind the many that they helped. At the Covid-19 Sculpture Memorial Park, we can commemorate these special lives and be reminded that this disease can affect us all.
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