Organizers in Champaign, Ill., the hometown of one of the most famous film critics, have given the thumb’s-up to a plan to put up a life-size statue of that critic, The Washington Post reports. The critic, of course, is the late Roger Ebert.
They announced plans Tuesday to raise $125,000 to build the bronze sculpture of Ebert giving his trademark "thumb’s-up" gesture.
"The statue would go in front of Champaign’s Virginia Theatre, which has hosted the Ebertfest film festival for 15 years," the story reports. "Ebert, a Pulitzer Prize-winning movie reviewer and television personality, grew up in neighboring Urbana and attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign."
The sculpture will have Ebert sitting in the middle of three movie theater seats, the piece notes. "Artist Rick Harney of Bloomington will create the sculpture. Ebert’s widow, Chaz Ebert, selected the composition and organizers said she will work with Harney on the design," the story reports.
In a statement announcing the fundraising campaign for the statue, organizers said: “The sculpture will be a permanent memorial which will honor Ebert for both his career and his dedication to his roots. It will also honor him for his determination to press forward with Ebertfest in the face of huge medical challenges.”
The goal is to have the statue ready for unveiling at Ebertfest in April 2014. Ebert died earlier this year at 70 after battling cancer for several years.