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Artist looks for support of memorial wall

Date: 7/18/2012

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD — On a wall on a Worthington Street building, Ashfield artist Robert Markey has a vision: create a memorial to motorcycle riders who've been killed in accidents.

The artist is now looking for support through a campaign on

Markey's work can be seen around downtown Springfield. There are glass mosaics on the wall of the Dwight Street overpass and on several other buildings. Last year, he installed another mosaic on the building whose wall is opposite Stearns Square, the home of the annual series of summer concerts that attract thousands of riders.

He told Reminder Publications that John Hebert, the building's owner, loved the artwork and Markey added an additional mosaic this spring. Markey began to think about his work and its location and thought, "this could be more."

As he explained on his website, "I rode motorcycles for many years and decided to put up motorcycle mosaics on this wall. Then I kept hearing about accidents near here where bikers were killed and I thought about creating some sort of memorial for them. After talking to a number of friends who were very supportive of the idea I decided to make this wall into a Wall of Celebration and Remembrance. Celebration of the beauty and wonder that bikes give so many of us and remembrance of those biker friends and family who are no longer with us."

Markey's plan is to add another mosaic figure — a rider on a vintage 1946 Indian motorcycle — and then create a border around the artwork. He would then install the names of riders who've perished in accidents.

He said that he did some research and could only find one other memorial of a similar nature.

Markey is looking for $2,500 to complete the project. He is using as a way to raise money, although he said, "This is not really a typical Kickstarter fun piece."

On Kickstarter, artists working in many different mediums seek financial support for specific projects that range from a movie to extended play music CD. In order to encourage a contribution, an artist or writer will offer incentives and the larger the donation, the greater the incentive. Markey has incentives for contributions ranging from $5 to $2,500.

Markey noted, "The money raised will be used to purchase materials, for cleaning and some rehab for the wall, for outreach and publicity, and for studio and installation time as the mosaic work is very labor intensive."

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