A new sculpture is in the works for the West Capitol Terrace outside the statehouse in Des Moines. Artist James Ellwanger says he hopes it’s the first in a series he calls "Shattering Silence." Ellwanger came up with the idea two years ago, saying he wants to celebrate Iowans who have gone to great lengths to make a positive change for America.
The sculpture outside the Capitol building will be 30 feet tall, specifically recognizing the formation of the National Bar Association in Iowa in 1925. Ellwanger says the sculpture will resemble limestone shattering glass. A group of African-American lawyers started the National Bar Association in Des Moines. The NBA has grown from a handful of members, to 30,000 members today.
"No other bar association would let them join, all because of their skin color," Ellwanger says, "these guys stepped up and did something to change that." Ellwanger is hoping to place other sculptures in cities around Iowa, and possibly one in Washington, D.C.
"What we’re really trying to highlight, are the true heroes of our communities," Ellwanger says. A non-profit "Shattering Silence" group has formed to fund the half-million dollar project outside the state Capitol. Ellwanger hopes the first sculpture will be in place sometime this spring.