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New Sculpture Honoring Veterans Set For Memorial Day Installation in Stuart

Veterans will be honored with a new sculpture that’s described by the few fortunate enough to see it as “poignant and powerful.” Until then, the artwork remains under wraps, literally.

On May 29, the Memorial Day ceremonies at Memorial Park in downtown Stuart will feature the unveiling of Above and Beyond, the sculpture by local artist Eduardo Gomez.

But first, the public will get a chance to support the sculpture’s creation at a May 18 fundraiser.

The first annual Mayors Gala—hosted by the Stuart Rotary Charitable Foundation—takes place on May 18. Reservations and tickets cost $150 per person, with cocktail service beginning at 5:30 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. and dancing at the Mariner Sands Country Club.

"The debt of gratitude we owe to our veterans is unpayable,” says Andrew Sesta, president of Stuart Rotary. “This sculpture by Eduardo Gomez is stunning and it’s a great way to honor our distinguished veterans. And, the Mayors Gala is a fun way to support the sculpture and celebrate the service and vision of many of Stuart’s noted mayors."

When creating Stuart’s latest public art project, Gomez pondered the meaning of what motivates soldiers to serve.

"I kept asking myself, 'Why would someone be moved to distinguished service?'" the Jensen Beach artist says of the 26-inches-by-24-inches sculpture. "It's love of country. Love of country and giving to country, it's not just something that veterans do. We all contribute in our own small way, but of course, veterans more than anyone because they put their lives in danger."

Gomez teaches sculpture at the Elliott Museum and the Lighthouse Art Center in addition to creating private, commissioned pieces. A U.S. citizen who moved to the Treasure Coast 11 years ago, he also created two public art projects on display in his hometown of Bogota, Colombia, as well as being one of 2009 finalists for the UDT Navy Seal Museum sculpture in Fort Pierce.

"It was a difficult project because it required a very tight turnaround and placement in a small space," says Paul Nicoletti, Stuart city manager, who learned of Gomez’s work through the Arts Council of Martin County. "We were impressed with everything that Eduardo presented to us, and I know the veteran community will be touched by his work."

Photo courtesy of Stuart Rotary Club