A statue commemorating Cooper-Young as the site of rock and country performer Johnny Cash’s first professional engagement is another step closer to fruition.

Legacy Memphis Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to erecting statues and monuments honoring Memphis’ musical and cultural icons, has announced a contractual agreement with artist Mike McCarthy and the Lugar Bronze Foundry to create a statue of Cash.

The intended site of the completed statue will be in the Cooper-Young community, where Johnny Cash, guitarist Luther Perkins, and bassist Marshall Grant first performed in December, 1954, at the former Galloway United Methodist Church.

While better known for his films and graphic novel work, McCarthy, a resident of Cooper-Young for 18 years, studied under sculptor John McIntyre at the Memphis Art Academy (now the Memphis College of Art).

Larry and Andrea Lugar established their bronze foundry in 1991 in Eads, Tennessee, and have created many Memphis statues such as the iconic one of Elvis Presley on Beale as well as more recent statues of bluesmen Little Milton and Bobby “Blue Bland” on South Main. Lugar will be casting the bronze sculpture.

Legacy Memphis is proud to work with the Cooper-Young Community Association, the Cooper-Young Business Association, and the fundraising platform Ioby.org toward their first neighborhood statue project.

While Phase 1 fundraising for the statue is now complete, Phase 2 funds are now being sought for site preparation and landscaping.

Please join us for the contract signing at the Cooper-Young Community Association office at 2298 Young Avenue on Wednesday, June 14 at 9:30 a.m. — Chip Armstrong