Governor Asa Hutchinson Announces Half-Million Dollars Raised For Bates, Cash Statuary Hall Project

Charter donors have contributed $510,000 of the $1 million needed to replace Arkansas’s statues in National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., with statues of Daisy Gatson Bates and Johnny Cash, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced at a news conference today.The Foundation for Arkansas Heritage and History has launched a website for those who would like to donate. The website is https://arkansasheritagefoundation.org/donate/“I started calling potential contributors several months ago, and the initial phase of our fundraising campaign has been very successful,” Governor Hutchinson said. “We’re more than halfway to our goal. Now we enter the public phase of our campaign. We want Arkansans to participate, whether they can give $5 or $50. In the past 100 years, Arkansas has changed, but our visitors in Washington do not see the changes. This is an opportunity for Arkansans to help tell our story to the rest of the world. “These two historic figures represent equally important aspects of the lives of Arkansas. Daisy Bates was a woman of principle and courage who changed Arkansas for the better. Johnny Cash elevated every-day hard-working people by telling their stories in his songs. “My goal is to have Daisy Gatson Bates and Johnny Cash in place in Washington by the time I leave office.” The top donors include Steuart & Kelly Walton; Wal-Mart Corporate; Tyson Family Foundation; the City of Little Rock; Sony Music; Crown Merchandise; Simmons Bank; Murphy Family Foundation; and Murphy USA Charitable Foundation. Arkansas’s first sculpture in Statuary Hall, a statue of attorney Uriah Milton Rose, was installed in 1917. The statue of James Paul Clark, the eighteenth governor of Arkansas and a United States senator, was installed in 1921. The General Assembly accepted nominations for statues and selected Daisy Bates, a civil rights activist who mentored the Little Rock Nine in 1957, and Johnny Cash, world-renowned singer and songwriter, who sold 90 million records during his career. With the selection of Daisy Bates, Arkansas is one of the first states to choose an African American to represent it in Statuary Hall. Johnny Cash will be the first musician with a statue there. 
The official move to replace those statues began during the 92nd General Assembly when Senator Dave Wallace and Representative Jeff Wardlaw sponsored House Bill 1969, which authorized the change. Governor Hutchinson signed the bill on April 11, 2019.Organizers estimated the entire project would cost about $1 million. That includes creating the statues, shipping them to Washington, and installing them. The cost also included returning the originals to Arkansas and installing them in their new places. The leadership and members of the Foundation for Arkansas Heritage and History have agreed to accept and handle the donations. The National Statuary Hall Steering Committee and the Capitol Arts and Grounds Commission are overseeing this endeavor. The members are reviewing 33 Requests For Quote (RFQ) as they begin the search for sculptors. Secretary of State John Thurston and his team helped with the bid proposals and are handling much of the administrative work. Others whose work has brought the project to this point include Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism;Shane Broadway, Chair, National Statuary Hall Steering Committee; and Charles King, President of the Daisy Bates House Museum Foundation.