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Front Page » December 6, 2007 » Local News » Families select Carbon County artist to create monument f...
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Families select Carbon County artist to create monument for lost coal miners

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Karen Templeton stands by a relief she had made of Dale Black for the presentation to the families of miners lost in Crandall Canyon. Templeton was selected as the artist to erect a monument for the lost coal miners.

The families of miners lost in the Crandall Canyon disaster have chosen Karen Templeton of Spring Glen to create a monument honoring the men in Huntington.

The selection was made during a meeting last week in which officials and the miners' families came to a consensus on the project.

Michael Mower of Utah Governor Jon Huntsman's office officiated the meeting. He stated that the group had concentrated on the on the artists who showed an interest in the project.

Templeton is known for various creations throughout the area. Her paper sculpture hangs in the foyer at the College of Eastern Utah Prehistoric Museum and she has a large glass and metal sculpture in a park in Grand Junction, Colo.

Three years ago, the local artist was commissioned to do a bust of Senator Bob Bennett and it was presented to him during the rural business conference in Price.

During last week's meeting, Mower introduced Sheila Phillips who lost her son, Brandon, in the initial cave-in at Crandall Canyon.

Phillips presented an idea for the monument that would stand in Huntington Canyon. She suggested that six stones be placed as an area where the families of miners trapped underground could engrave something they wanted on the surfaces.

Also, three benches would have the names of the rescuers who were killed during the rescue attempt. A site will later be determined for the monument.

"The cement and the form work for this project has already been donated," said Phillips. "The stones are three feet high and four feet wide."

Phillips said the families will be able to put whatever writing they would like on the individual monuments.

Organizers want the monuments to be the same, but different. They also want a picture of the fallen miners on the stones.

Mower told the attendees at the meeting that Gary Arrington is setting up an account at Desertview Federal Credit Union to keep all the funds for the monument in one place. A check presentation will take place sometime in January.

The attention of the group then turned to selecting an artist for the monument that will be in in Huntington along the road near Canyon View Junior High.

"This was not an easy decision," said Mower. "All of the artists have put a lot of time, effort and dedication into their concepts. The families want everyone to know they are donating $15,000 to go toward the monument."

"The monument will be here long after all of us are gone," continued Mower. "They have decided to split up the projects. The project up the canyon will be spearheaded by Sheila Phillips and we will go with her design. The project in Huntington will be completed by Karen Templeton. Her Heroes Among Us design has been chosen along with the encouragement to work with some of the other artists on this project."

Karen Templeton's rough illustration of what the new monument in Huntington Canyon will look like when it is completed next summer.

The four artists who were under consideration were Templeton, Gary Prazen, Elise Lazar and Eldon Holmes.

Templeton said on Wednesday that she was very honored that they had picked her.

"I got the idea for this monument while I was sitting at the breakfast table one morning while the whole tragedy was going on," explained the Spring Glen artist. "It didn't matter if I was 20 or 200 miles away, there was nothing I could do to help. But you can always give something."

"I kept thinking if they didn't get them out, what would the families have to remember them. What would they have to touch?" added Templeton.

With the aim of having the project completed by the first part of August 2008, Templeton has a big job to do.

The local artist has already rounded up sub-contractors to help with the monument concrete, electrical and landscaping.

The monument will be 16 feet long and six feet tall, representing a lot of concrete and bronze to erect in a mere nine months.

"Doing relief sculptures of their faces is much harder than doing a 360 representation," pointed out Templeton. "In a relief, an artist has to convince people that there are curves in the moldings that aren't there. The project will only work if the faces on the monument look like the miners."

The monument will have molded concrete with bronze reliefs.

Templeton indicated that one of the goals of the monument's dedication is to get all the media that covered the tragedy to come back to cover the unveiling.

"Mining is very dangerous and we think that kind of an event will keep the idea of mine safety in front of the public's eyes," concluded the Spring Glen artist.

Editors note: Patsy Stoddard, editor of the Emery County Progress, was a major contributor to today's article.

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