THE LEVON HELM LEGACY PROJECT TO CREATE PERMANENT MEMORIAL IN MARVELL, ARKANSAS
Levon’s friends come together to honor and preserve the legacy of one of the greatest musicians in American history
MARVELL, Ark. (July 26, 2017) – The Levon Helm Legacy Project has launched a GoFundMe page, https://www.gofundme.com/levonhelmmemorial to fund a permanent tribute to Levon Helm, his life and musical legacy. This includes a commission of a bronze statue by acclaimed artist Kevin Kresse, restoring Levon’s childhood home and creating a permanent memorial in downtown Marvell to honor one of the greatest musicians in American history.
Levon's childhood and life-long friends have been working together for the past couple of years to create a lasting memorial to honor the friend and talented artist they knew and loved like a brother. Anna Lee Amsden, a longtime friend who was immortalized in Levon’s song, “The Weight” and cooked for him and the band for many years, has been instrumental in organizing this effort. “It was Levon’s wish to keep the music playing on,” said Anna Lee. “We want to create this memorial in Marvell to preserve his legacy and honor the lasting contributions that he made to both music and film.”
The plans began to take shape when Levon’s actual childhood home (originally located in Turkey Scratch) was donated and eventually moved to its current location in downtown Marvell. Arkansas native and nationally acclaimed artist Kevin Kresse was then selected to create a bronze bust of Levon to formally mark his legacy in the Delta town where he was raised. Kevin immediately began working on a clay sculpture of Levon, which is now complete and awaiting the funds for the bronzing and permanent placement in downtown Marvell next to Levon’s childhood home on Carruth Avenue.
The goal of the Levon Helm Legacy Project is to not only memorialize Levon in the place that created and nurtured his gifts, but to let the music of the Delta to continue to play on and inspire future generations of artists who may spring from this uniquely rich and fertile artistic landscape.
In addition, Levon Helm Memorial Highway, a stretch of highway on U.S. Route 49 from Marvell to Helena was dedicated in July 2017 with the help of Arkansas State Representative for District 12, Chris Richey.
About The Levon Helm Legacy Project
The Levon Helm Legacy Project is a labor of love started by a group of Levon's closest Arkansas friends, family and fans who want to honor and preserve Levon's music legacy in his hometown of Marvell. For more information or to donate, visit http://www.levonhelmmemorial.org.
About Levon Helm
Mark Lavon (Levon) Helm was best known as the drummer and singer for the Canadian rock group The Band. Following the demise of The Band, he continued to have a successful career leading his own band, as well as acting in numerous motion pictures.
Levon Helm was born in Elaine, Ark., a rural farming community in the Arkansas Delta. The closest towns were Marvell and Helena where Levon would cut his musical teeth playing with local musicians and sneaking in to watch Sonny Boy Williamson perform weekly on the King Biscuit Radio show on KFFA. This is also where Levon forged lifelong friendships with people like C.W. Gatlin, Mary Cavette and Anna Lee Amsden, who would go on to be immortalized in The Band’s song, “The Weight.” For Levon’s complete bio, visit http://www.levonhelmmemorial.org/about-levon-1/ .
About Kevin Kresse
Arkansas native Kevin Kresse is a painter and sculptor who has been recognized with painting fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts – Mid-America Arts Alliance and the Arkansas Arts Council, and has received several awards in the Arkansas Arts Center annual Delta competition. For more information, visit kevinkresse.com.
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