CHAMPAIGN — A 3-D image of Roger Ebert will greet people at his 16th annual film festival later this month in Champaign.
Donna and Scott Anderson will unveil the lifesize bronze sculpture of the famed critic at noon April 24 — the second day of Ebertfest — outside the Virginia Theatre, where the event takes place, Scott Anderson confirmed.
Chaz Ebert wrote about the upcoming reveal in her blog posted Friday, the first anniversary of her husband's death. Donna Anderson began working on the project in earnest after having a heart transplant.
"So, literally, this sculpture comes from the heart. How humbling," Chaz wrote.
Scott Anderson, who is leading the campaign to raise money for the sculpture, said Friday he's $25,000 short of the $112,500 goal.
Since March 20 or so the campaign raised $7,000, including a $3,000 pledge from Beyond Normal Films, a volunteer group that helps the Normal Theater select foreign, American independent and documentary films to be shown each month.
An earlier donation of $5,000 came from famed director Martin Scorsese.
Scott Anderson expects to come close to or exceed the goal during Ebertfest April 23-27 because of the large group of potential donors it will draw. He also has pending requests in to organizations for donations.
The Andersons were able to have artist Rick Harney complete the work before the campaign goal was met because of their contract with him. The bronze casting at a foundry in Mount Morris also is ahead of schedule and will be completed this coming week, Scott Anderson said.
Not all of the money raised in the campaign goes to the artist. Some goes toward covering fundraising costs, dedication plaques, donor recognitions and other contingencies.
Tax-deductible donations toward the project may be made to the Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, 307 W. University Ave., Champaign, IL. 61820, with checks designated for the Ebert sculpture. Donations also may be made via ebertsculpture.org.