Eudora Lawrence artist Jim Brothers' mentor once told him to do his best for a commissioned work, whether it was for a nickel or $1 million.
In 16 months, Eudora will see his best.
The Eudora City Council has decided to pay Brothers $58,000 to construct a bronze statue of the town's founder, Shawnee Chief Paschal Fish, and his daughter Eudora. The statue will portray Fish holding Eudora's hand when she was a young girl, capturing the moment when she learned she'd be the town's namesake.
"You pour your heart out all you can at this time in history," said Brothers, whose other sculptures include one of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower in the U.S. Capitol and 10 figures at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.
The city and Eudora Lions Club will share Brothers' competitive spirit and strive to raise a total of $75,000 for the project, which will help mark the city's sesquicentennial in 2007.
Although both the city and the organization have been working to raise money during the last several weeks, the finalization of the contract marks the official kickoff of the effort.
"We're hoping community members and clubs will come join us," Eudora City Administrator Cheryl Beatty said.
The fundraising effort is led by the Lions Club, but the city of Eudora put up the $14,500 down payment. The city and Lions Club will make three more payments over the course of the statue's creation.
The major fundraising mechanism will be a brick sale. For every $50 brick sold, the Lions Club will donate $10. Residents or businesses donating more than $250 will have their name placed on a bronze plaque that will be mounted on the statue, Beatty said.
As the year goes on, community events will be scheduled to raise more money for the project.
Lions Club member Tom Tucker has worked to bring the Tonganoxie opry act Annie's Country Jubilee in for a benefit show May 12 at Eudora Middle School.
"We've really tried to schedule something every month," Tucker said.
The school district also will help raise money for the statue.
"It's important as far as the school district is concerned to help educate the students about Eudora and its history," Eudora Supt. Marty Kobza said. "Allowing the students to get involved in some fundraising activity will be an important part of that."
Kobza views the Eudora statue project and sesquicentennial as being more than a one-day project.
"It's an opportunity to get involved to create some of the history themselves by fundraising for the statue," Kobza said.
History is at the core of the Lions Club and city efforts too, Beatty said.
"As we go along through the project, we hope to educate people about Eudora's history and to move the project forward," Beatty said.