Excerpt from AJC.com by Staff writers Mike Morris and Greg Bluestein
The McDonough sculptor chosen last month to create a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. for the Georgia State Capitol grounds has died of injuries he sustained in a weekend wreck.
Police said Andy Davis was on his motorcycle about 12:35 a.m. Saturday when he was hit from behind by an allegedly drunk pickup truck driver at a traffic light on Jodeco Road in Henry County, according to the Georgia State Patrol.
Davis was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital in grave condition, and Henry County Coroner Donald Cleveland told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was advised by the hospital that Davis died at 9:50 p.m. Sunday.
Davis created life-sized statues of Ray Charles for Charles’ hometown of Albany and of “give me liberty or give me death” orator Patrick Henry for downtown McDonough, the suburban town Davis calls home.
On June 29, he was chosen to create the statue of Martin Luther King Jr. that will stand on the grounds of the Georgia State Capitol, a job for which he was picked by Gov. Nathan Deal.
The project is now temporarily on hold. “We have to go back to the drawing board,” State Rep. Calvin Smyre, who helped coordinate the project, said Monday.
Smyre said he spent four hours with Davis last week at the King Center. “We were cutting him a check this week for materials,” he said. “I’m praying for Andy’s family.”
Deal, who announced the project, which came after years of lobbying by African-American leaders, said in a statement he’s “deeply saddened” by Davis’ death.
“This tragedy is not only a loss for his family, but for the Henry County community and our state,” Deal said. “He leaves behind a legacy of excellent work, and I regret that will not include a statue on our Capitol grounds that many generations of Georgians would have admired. Sandra and I offer our prayers, support and encouragement to his family during this difficult time.”
Tributes poured in for Davis from those who knew and worked with him.
Remembering Andy Davis
Excerpt from 11Alive.com by
ATLANTA — Andy Davis may not have been a name that tumbled easily from the lips of most Georgians. Many had likely not heard of him until a few weeks ago, when Gov. Nathan Deal announced that Davis would create a statue of Dr. Martin Luther King to be placed on the grounds at the Capitol.
You may not have known him, but if you wanted to know what was in him, it was all around you, throughout the state Andy loved so much — at the United Way in downtown Atlanta, in Albany where Davis immortalized Ray Charles, all over Atlanta where nine statues of Truett Cathy will forever sit on benches outside his Chick-fil-As. There was General Griffin in Griffin, Patrick Henry in McDonough, fallen policemen in Jonesboro, of Iwo Jima at the National Museum of Patriotism.
The barefooted boy who dreamed of being a cloud maker grew up to create work astounding in its realism, matched only by the heart of the man who created it.
Nine years ago when he was sculpting Ray Charles, Andy invited students from The Academy for the Blind in Macon to come work with him. When Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta asked Andy to come work with some children who loved art, but were too sick to leave the hospital, Andy went.
Andy’s family wrote on Monday, “Dad passed on to his next great adventure. He was so brave. He waited on us to tell him it was okay to go. He went out of his way to help anyone, from a little bird on the street with a broken wing, to a single mom who was homeless and hungry. He gets to do that still, because his request to donate his organs to give the gift of life to others has been granted. His final sculpture is one we would never have imagined, that will be living, breathing, and seeing in someone’s body. We have lost a giant today, but his Spirit, his Legacy, and his Big Blue Eyes will live on in our hearts and minds.”
Celebration of life service set for sculptor Andy Davis
We will have a celebration in the honor of Andy Davis, Master Sculptor, this Saturday, at his Hood Street Art Center.
We ask that in his memory, to come to the event in sandals or flip-flops, so that you may be barefoot, just as he would have it!
We will have an informal dedication, with a series of speakers of family and close friends of Andy.
Also, instead of flowers, we ask that you purchase a piece of art work from the HSAC, or to purchase a piece of art from a local artist, and to buy it in his honor.
Those of you who have pieces made by Andy are welcome to bring photos of his art work to put up on the wall of the gallery. We will have a way for people to write their stories on a wall or sheath of canvas.
We expect that there will be many friends and family, so be prepared to be in a crowd– He is so loved!
Please support his memorial fund here: http://gofundme.com/andydavismemorial
Finally, we thank you so much for all of your love, donations, and support. You are incredible. We love you.
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Artist who was set to build a Martin Luther King Jr. statue for the Georgia Capitol dies after his motorbike was rear-ended by a pick-up truck | DailyMail.com
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