Cardinal sculpture unveiled in Beckley, becoming a community symbol

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A new addition to uptown Beckley, nestling between Neville and North Heber Streets, the Rising Cardinals Sculpture now sits, along with a freshly paved plaza.

Today, its creators, contributors, local dignitaries, and members of the public all came out to watch its unveiling.

“It will be quite an attraction we think, it’s unique, it’s very inspiring, very positive, ascending cardinals, cardinals are the state bird,” says Mayor of Beckley Rob Rappold.

Previously what had started being called “the hole” or “the pit,” this once empty lot where a building had stood after burning to the ground several years ago is now filled with a beautiful space full of trees, art, and a meaningful message to the community.

“The cardinal is not only a symbol for the state of West Virginia but also a symbol for Beckley, like the wings of Beckley kind of slogan, we also thought that the birds rising up would be a really great symbol for Beckley rising up,” Sculpture Designer Jamie Lester explains.

Taking over a couple of years to complete and being put on hold throughout the pandemic, the sculpture’s designer Jamie Lester and Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold were just two out of the many present for the unveiling who were excited about the finished product.

“What a day to unveil it, it’s just so beautiful, the light is so gorgeous today and it’s just really popping up the statue,” Lester says.

“We’re excited about it, we have some really good things going on…you know, Beckley’s a hub, and it’s noted as a very compassionate city,” adds Mayor Rappold.

A part of the extensive project includes the plaza designer Sam Rich of Thrasher Engineering, construction done by the City Public Works Department, and landscaping for the project by Green River Landscaping.

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