PORTSMOUTH — Friends of retired Prescott Park gardener Michael Warhurst announced they met a $100,000 fundraising goal to commission a sculpture in Warhurst's honor.
The nonprofit group Friends of Prescott Park was formed more than a year ago for the cause and group president Charles Lassen said about 150 donations contributed to meeting the financial goal. A contract has been negotiated with the Erdman sculpture studio and "the funds are available to guarantee delivery of the sculpture from Italy within 10 months," Lassen said.
The granite sculpture will be made by Richard Erdman and will be installed in Prescott Park. Warhurst said last year he was humbled by the tribute of a sculpture being commissioned in his honor.
“Usually you’re underground when that happens,” he joked.
Lassen and Warhurst collaborated on the sculpture plans, including a visit to Erdman’s Vermont studio and making a life-size mock-up of the proposed sculpture named "Odyssey" - the journey of life.
Lassen said an offer to give the sculpture to the city of Portsmouth was unanimously accepted, subject to a recommendation from the group Art Speak. That recommendation is anticipated during the Aug. 15 council meeting, he said.
"A major renovation of Prescott Park is planned over the next few years, which will delay installation of 'Odyssey' in it's final position in the park, until some time in the future," Lassen added.
In the meantime, he said, the group accepted an offer from the Wentworth Lear House Association to temporarily display "Odyssey" on those grounds, pending the Prescott Park completion.
Lassen said he's "grateful to all the donors who have made this project possible, to the volunteers who have given their time and resources to support this work, and to the individuals who have helped guide this project with their wisdom and moral support."