Thumbs Up for Ebert


The Ebert Sculpture Project Committee has been established to raise funds to commission a bronze sculpture of Roger Ebert, hometown boy and world’s most famous movie critic, sitting on a theater seat, showing his signature “thumbs up.” The sculpture will be placed in the front of the Virginia Theatre, where the annual Ebertfest festival has taken place since 1999.

The Public Art League, which has brought a number of public-art sculptures to the area, will manage the Ebert sculpture project. Installation is targeted for the 2014 Ebertfest, from April 23 to 27. Ebert’s wife, Chaz, is involved as well.

The committee is seeking gifts of any amount to make the memorial a reality. The estimated total cost is $122,500. Money raised in excess of what’s needed for the sculpture and related costs will be given to the Roger Ebert Film Center at the UI, Ebertfest and the Virginia Theatre.

The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois will handle donations.  People who want to mail checks should make them out to Community Foundation of East Central Illinois with “Ebert sculpture” designated in the memo line, and send them to Community Foundation of East Central Illinois, 307 W. University Ave., Champaign, IL 61820.