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4 Ed Hamilton art pieces that put Louisville on the map

It’s not just the Lincoln statue at Waterfront Park.

An artist leans over a table, working on a page.

Ed Hamilton served as an apprentice under Louisville sculptor Barney Bright for eight years.

Image via WHAS11

Did you know: The artist behind the Lincoln statue at Waterfront Park — the one that recently had its hat stolenused to be a teacher at Iroquois High School?

It’s true.

Though he was born in Cincinnati, Ed Hamilton was raised in Louisville. Since 1978, he’s worked out of an unassuming studio — a sign above the door reads, “ed hamilton, sculptor” in lower-case letters — on Shelby Street in Phoenix Hill.

From inside that space, Hamilton has created several magnificent pieces of art that adorn Derby City — like the Lincoln statue, the statue of York on the Belvedere, and the Boxing Legends Monument in Smoketown — but his work has reached far past Louisville.

Here are four other Hamilton pieces located around the US that put his hometown on the map.

Booker T. Washington — Hampton, VA

Hamilton called this piece his “major breakthrough.” Dedicated in 1984, the sculpture stands nine-feet-tall and is located on the campus of Hampton University, where the educator + orator Washington was a student.

Amistad Memorial - New Haven, CT

This relief sculpture was dedicated in 1992 outside New Haven’s City Hall. It recognizes the events of the Amistad Affair from 1839, when 53 kidnapped Africans mutinied aboard a ship.

A bronze statue depicts Black soldiers and sailors from the American Civil War.

“The Spirit of Freedom” is located in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, D.C., but was sculpted in Louisville by Ed Hamilton.

Image via National Park Service

“The Spirit of Freedom” — Washington, D.C.

Dedicated in 1998, this piece honors the over 200,000 African-American soldiers and sailors who served in the US Army and Navy during the American Civil War. Fun fact: Hamilton used his wife, Bernadette, as a model for the piece.

“The Unfinished March” — Newport News, VA

The centerpiece of the Martin King Jr. Plaza, this bronze bas relief sculpture was dedicated in 2014. It depicts King alongside other Civil Rights activists.

Bonus: Want to hear from Ed Hamilton? He spoke to the University of Kentucky’s Nunn Center in 2017 about his life and career.

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