A replica of a memorial planned for the site of the Salvation Army store collapse that killed six people on June 5, 2013, in Center City was shown Saturday to victims' families and community members. It was met with rave reviews.
The unveiling took place on the southeast corner of 22d and Market Streets, where the store's rubble is long gone and where a vacant lot now awaits transformation to a memorial garden.
"I think it's absolutely beautiful, thoughtful, uplifting, and it creates an opportunity for the families to heal," said Nancy Winkler, who lost her daughter Anne Bryan, 24. "I don't think we can really start to heal until we can dedicate this as a memorial park."
Winkler, the city treasurer, expressed appreciation "for just the outpouring of volunteers and contributions, people's time, their talent, their resources, and financial commitments to make this happen."
The replica, a full-scale plywood sculpture, was designed by Wayne resident Barbara Fox, a 1988 graduate of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. She said the work was inspired by Bryan's last art piece, which had been based on the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a marble statue from the second century depicting the Greek goddess Nike Victory.
Bryan was a student at the arts academy and about the same age as Fox's son, a motivating factor in the artist's decision to work on the memorial, she said.
Her finished product will be three towering granite stones inset with stained-glass windows intended to represent connection between the grieving families.
"My idea was to unite the families because they were not from the same area and from the same country," Fox said. "I didn't know them, but I wanted to house them in a way that would unite them."
She says she feels a particular connection with Winkler.
"I felt that I could put myself in her shoes and imagine what it would be like to lose a child," Fox said. "I just wanted in some way to show my support of them and the other families as well."
The plywood replica will stand at the site until the entire memorial is complete, anticipated in the fall, said Nancy Goldenberg, a member of the memorial committee.
The park project, estimated at $1.3 million, including maintenance costs, also will include a 12-foot banner explaining its meaning.
The 22nd and Market Memorial Committee said it had raised half that amount so far. Donations can be made at https://www.pennhort.net/memorial.