An Ohio man has been tentatively selected to be the creator for a new sculpture of Ohio native Thomas A. Edison for Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Alan Cottrill of Zanesville was selected from a group of Ohio artists that answered a request from the Ohio Statuary Hall Commission seeking a proposal of an Edison statue to put in place of Gov. William Allen, who was a supporter of slave owners.
Cotrill said it was exciting to hear the announcement that his rendering of Edison holding a lightbulb won the competition.
"It's a career-making honor that a piece of mine is going to be there representing Ohio for decades, and probably centuries, is just a huge thrill," Cottrill said.
Cottrill was picked over two other finalist Thomas Lingeman of Perrysburg and Emanuel Enriquez of Bowling Green. The University of Findlay graduate said he set out to conduct as much research as possible to portray Edison as best he could.
"I did a lot of talking to descendants, visiting his birth place, feeling the man. So that then I could inject a piece with that energy which he had in life," Cottrill said.
Cottrill was a late bloomer in the art world. He first picked up a piece of clay at the age of 38. But most of his friends were art professors or artists themselves.
Cottrill served in the U.S. Army and held a job as a truck driver before pursuing art full time. The 62-year-old Cottrill has made some 500 figurative statues; 100 are on display across the country.
The state, the Architect of the Capitol and the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress still must approve Cottrill as the sculptor for the privately funded Edison project.