Monument honoring Va.’s historic women coming to life at the Capitol

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The “Voices from the Garden:” The Virginia Women’s Monument is coming alive not only outside, but inside the Capitol.

A model of the artist’s original rendering of the monument was installed Thursday in the Capitol. It has 10 of the 12 statues of historic women who are being recognized.

The project has been a long time coming.

“Our stories are now going to be told,” Susan Clarke Schaar, the Clerk of the Senate, said.

Behind a chain-link fence, you can see the first phase of the project in the works. Crews are working to build a plaza where all of the statues will be standing or sitting around.

At this time, only four of the statues are being commissioned, including Pamunkey Chief Cockacoeske and educational leader Virginia Randolph. The rest will be worked on once they are fully fundraised. Each statue costs $200,000.

Schaar says the when they were looking for public input on the project, women told the commission they “did not want these [statues of] women to be put up on a horse.”

“But to have them down front like they’re conversing with each other and the people who walk up to them,” she added.

Schaar is the second woman in Virginia history to be the Clerk of the Senate. She sees how important it is to recognize the women who came before her and the inspire ones to come.

“To pass this on the young people, and let them know what women have done in Virginia’s history and encourage young women that they can reach for the stars,” Schaar said.

The dedication for the monument is scheduled for October of 2019. Schaar says they hope to have all of the statues fully funded by Spring that year.

This is just one of a series of changes happening around the Capitol. A new General Assembly building is being built and a monument dedicated by the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission was unveiled this year as well.

To read the biographies of all of the women being recognized in The Voices of the Garden: The Virginia Women’s Monument, click here.

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