MLKEDC dedicates statue to former Executive Director, Welford Sanders

November 4, 2021

Photo by Yvonne Kemp

Members in the community came out to attend the dedication ceremony of the life size bronze statue honoring Mr. Welford Sanders, the former Executive Director of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corp. (MLKEDC) on Thursday, October 28, 2021, at the Welford Sanders Historic Lofts and Enterprise Center.

Among those in attendance were MLKEDC leaders, city officials, and the artist, Ms.Vinnie Bagwell (left) who created this magnificent piece. Also in attendance was Marquita Edwards (right), art/culture curator, referred to as Lady Renaissance of King Drive Arts and Culture, who said she was pleased to see the joyful exclamations and comments made by close friends and board members who saw the statue and the interesting story it tells.

Edwards who recommended Bagwell to create the statue, had researched diligently for months, interviewing various sculptors throughout the country looking for the one whom she thought would embody the essence of Mr. Sanders. Edwards and Sanders co-founded the King Drive Commons Gallery and Studio and worked together for several years to help revitalize arts and culture, and health and wellness in the community.

During the ceremony, Edwards stated, “Because of my close ties to Sanders, searching for the right sculptor was extremely dear to my heart. I understood the importance to have the statue of Welford Sanders, an African American man, whose dedication and vision made an enormous impact in this city, and to have his statue designed by the right renowned African American sculptor, would represent a major positive message for Milwaukee.” Much appreciation goes out to MLKEDC board members, Bob Lemke, friends, colleagues, and all those who donated support for Mr. Sanders’s statue.