Thomas Kennedy Statue "Maquette" to be Unveiled (Dec. 18th at 4pm)

December 14, 2017

Thomas Kennedy Statue "Maquette" to be Unveiled
Renowned sculptor, Toby Mendez, will participate in unveiling model statue of Maryland lawmaker who fought for Jewish rights
For Release - December 14, 2017

The Thomas Kennedy Center and the City of Hagerstown are hosting an unveiling ceremony for the new Thomas Kennedy statue project. The internationally-known sculptor Toby Mendez was selected as the artist creating the statue for the Thomas Kennedy Memorial Plaza project in Hagerstown, Maryland.

The "maquette" has been created and will be unveiled at 4:00 p.m. on Monday, December 18th in Council Chamber at City Hall. A maquette is a sculptor's small preliminary model, and in this case is an almost three-foot high clay model of what will be a 10-foot tall bronze statue in a small city park on East Baltimore Street.

From Hagerstown, Thomas Kennedy was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates and fought for equal rights for every Marylander. The statue, memorial park, and educational center is being planned to honor Thomas Kennedy (1776-1832).

Kennedy is buried at Hagerstown’s historic Rose Hill Cemetery. First elected in 1817, he is best known as author and tireless proponent of “The Jew Bill,” which allowed Jews the right to hold public office in Maryland. The final version of Kennedy's bill was passed, after an eight-year struggle, and allowed Jews the right to hold public office. A devout Presbyterian, Kennedy often said that he never met a Jew during his life. The bill became law in 1826.

The Thomas Kennedy Memorial Park will be located across the street from the Congregation B’nai Abraham, which is at 53 E. Baltimore Street in downtown Hagerstown. The plaza will be on a site where a pair of blighted buildings were demolished a few years ago. The small public park will feature the 10-foot high bronze statue of Thomas Kennedy as well as educational inscriptions about the life, legacy and contributions of the Maryland lawmaker, poet, publisher, and patriot. In time, the Thomas Kennedy Center in the former Hebrew School will serve as a cultural and educational attraction for visitors from throughout Maryland and beyond. As an educational focal point for students, the center will be a public-private partnership. A nonprofit was established earlier this year to make the memorial and Thomas Kennedy Center a reality.

The original idea for the statue was conceived by Rabbi Ari Plost and Congregation B'nai Abraham's President, Monda Sagalkin. The Hagerstown City Council passed the proposal to provide space for the park and statue as well as some financial and in-kind assistance.

The world-renowned sculptor Toby Mendez has designed what has been called a beautiful rendering of Thomas Kennedy.

The unveiling ceremony will be broadcast live on the City of Hagerstown-Municipal Facebook page, the City of Hagerstown's YouTube channel ( and Hub City Now, which is channel 25 for Antietam Cable subscribers.

For more information about the project, and for information about helping the project, see: or email Tom Riford, Executive Director at

About: Antonio Tobias (Toby) Mendez, Sculptor
Toby Mendez is a Maryland-based sculptor with over 30 years of sculpture experience creating significant public art. Toby was born in Denver, Colorado in 1963.

Toby apprenticed under the Academy Award-winning makeup sculptor John Chambers (credited with films such as The Island of Dr. Moreau, Mission Impossible and The Planet of the Apes Series). Chambers encouraged Toby to seek a formal education in order to develop his technique and aesthetic. Toby entered the School of the Art Institute of Chicago receiving his BFA.

In 1988, he set up his studio in the Maryland/DC area where he actively sculpts both private and public commissions. Mendez primarily focuses on the figure, combining a classical figurative approach with a more contemporary eye for site design. In addition to creating lasting legacies through public art, Toby continues to create personal works for acquisition by private collectors. He has created over 30 major public works including: Thurgood Marshall Memorial for the State of Maryland; The Baltimore Orioles Legends, six heroic-scale bronze figures of the Hall of Fame Players for Camden Yards Ballpark in Baltimore, Maryland; and three bronze panels for the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C.