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Sculptures for Heber Valley’s future Christ in America park will be unveiled in Provo this summer


PROVO — An organization building a statue garden in Heber Valley is providing opportunities this summer for people to view the statutes before the Stadium of Fire fireworks concert and on a float at Provo’s Freedom Festival parade.

People can also participate in fundraising for the park by attending a benefit concert in June to help raise money for the Christ in America Garden, and awareness of the nonprofit organization creating the park — Monument of the Americas.

Steven Neal, a sculptor, retired doctor and facial plastic surgeon who is heading up the project, said he anticipates a groundbreaking for the park later this year — and next summer, planting trees and installing the first few sculptures so people can begin to see the park.

He said each of the statues has been created in miniature form, and there are 71 miniature statues made for the park. At this point, he said, 20 of them have been created in their full size.

Over the last year, Neal said sculpture production has been accelerated.

The garden will be focused on America, Neal explained, with some statutes depicting United States’ Founding Fathers and others depicting scenes from the Book of Mormon, a book of scripture sacred to members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The biggest statue, which will be the largest bronze statue in Utah, is a statue of the Book of Mormon prophet Moroni raising a banner known as the “Title of Liberty.” Neal hopes it will inspire people to defend their religion, freedom and families. The full-size statue will be unveiled outside BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium before the Stadium of Fire on July 4.

Neal said this statue will also likely be the first statue placed in the park.

A 7-foot statue of George Washington at Valley Forge, made for the statue garden, will be displayed on a float during the Fourth of July parade, with donors and sculptors associated with the Monument of the Americas riding on the float.

The benefit concert for Monument of the Americas in Provo on June 28 will feature Alex Boye, Yahosh Bonner and The One Voice Children’s Choir. The concert will focus on the themes of faith, family and freedom.

A smaller version of the "Title of Liberty" statue made for the Christ in America Garden. Steven Neal is creating a sculpture garden which will overlook Heber Valley and contain religious and patriotic sculptures.
A smaller version of the “Title of Liberty” statue made for the Christ in America Garden. Steven Neal is creating a sculpture garden which will overlook Heber Valley and contain religious and patriotic sculptures. (Photo: Monument of the Americas)

All proceeds will be given to the Monument of the Americas Foundation to help build the gardens. Tickets can be purchased through the Covey Center.

Neal said organizers should have the deed to a 10-acre property overlooking the Heber Valley in the next few weeks. The nonprofit initially acquired ground for a park near where The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Heber Valley temple is being built, but the park has been relocated to ensure people don’t assume it is owned by the church. The new property, however, is 4 acres bigger.

Neal said organizers have already found multiple foundations and individuals willing to support them, and have received about $1.5 million in donations — most of which has gone to creating the statues.

The nonprofit is applying for grant money to help it get even closer to finishing its park. Neal said it needs about $2 million more to finish the sculptures and up to $5 million for the visitors center.

For the landscaping, he said organizers have local people willing to help donate equipment and work. “It’s a community thing,” he said.

When the park is built, it will have a visitor center that will display other art and a location for indoor concerts or conferences.

Neal said statues depicting Moroni burying gold plates at the end of the Book of Mormon and delivering those plates to Joseph Smith were already unveiled at an event at the Salt Palace in 2023.



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