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Archive for Friday, February 21, 2003

Artist proposes statue of Dole in Wichita

February 21, 2003

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— A former resident of Moscow, who was touched by former Sen. Bob Dole's work after a 1988 earthquake in Armenia, wants to create a sculpture of the Republican leader and place it downtown.

Mikael Sogoian, who is of Armenian ancestry, was born and raised in Moscow. He met Dole and his wife in 1989 when they were part of a U.S. delegation to Russia.

Sogoian, a sculptor who now lives in Lake Ridge, Va., wants to create an 8-foot bronze sculpture of Dole for display in front of the Century II Concert Hall.

He has an idea of what the $100,000 monument would look like. He did a miniature sculpture of Dole that was placed last fall in the Robert J. Dole Department of Veterans Affairs Medical and Regional Office Center in Wichita.

City officials said if Sogoian could get donors to pay for the sculpture, they would be delighted to display his artwork.

"It would be phenomenal," Mayor Bob Knight said. "I think it is a marvelous deal and I'm very supportive."

CityArts director John D'Angelo said the site for the monument hadn't been determined. He thinks another appropriate place for it might be at Veterans Memorial Park on Greenway Boulevard near the Arkansas River.

"The more art we can put in the community, the more beautiful it becomes," D'Angelo said. "To honor somebody with historical value in the community is a win-win."

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