Amanda Matthews

Amanda Matthews
Amanda Matthews in studio
BornSeptember 1, 1968
EducationUniversity of Louisville
Occupation(s)Sculptor, painter, CEO of Prometheus Foundry
SpouseRobert (Brad) Connell
Black and white image of Amanda standing next to the 7' tall clay faces in her studio for The Girl Puzzle Monument in New York City honoring Nellie Bly.
Amanda standing next to the clay faces in her studio for The Girl Puzzle Monument in New York City honoring Nellie Bly.
Amanda Matthews at the NAWBO Kentucky Chapter 2018 Awards at a podium accepting Strive Business Owner of the Year Award, mid-speech.
Matthews accepting NAWBO Strive Business Owner of the Year Award, 2018
Amanda Matthews with Roland Martin at Newseum, Washington, DC for unveiling of Alice Allison Dunnigan statue
Amanda Matthews with Congressman John Lewis at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for unveiling of “John Lewis – Good Trouble”
Amanda Matthews with Congressman John Lewis at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for unveiling of “John Lewis – Good Trouble”
Amanda Matthews on panel with Sonya Ross and Carol McCabe Booker at Newseum, Washington DC for unveiling of Alice Allison Dunnigan statue
Amanda Matthews on panel with Sonya Ross and Carol McCabe Booker at Newseum, Washington DC for unveiling of Alice Allison Dunnigan statue
Governor Beshear: Thank you to Kentucky native Amanda Matthews for designing and sculpting “United We Stand. Divided We Fall.” This meaningful monument will honor those lost, while also ensuring Kentuckians know the strength of our people when we come together to overcome challenges.

Amanda Matthews (born 1968) is an American sculptor and painter from Louisville, Kentucky, United States, who lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Early life, Education, and Family

Amanda Matthews was born in 1968 in Louisville, Kentucky to James (Jim) Matthews III and Brenda Matthews. She attended Bullitt East High School in Mt. Washington, Kentucky and graduated in 1986. Matthews earned her Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art with a minor in Philosophy from the University of Louisville in Louisville, Kentucky in 1990.[1] She studied abroad in Paris, France in 1989 with the University of Louisville, studying Fine Art and Architecture while abroad.


Matthews is known for her award-winning work that honors women and celebrates diversity and inclusion. She began her career as a painter and faculty member for the Louisville Visual Arts Association. She founded Wild Honeysuckle Studio in 1998, which merged with Prometheus Bronze Foundry, LLC in 2009.[citation needed]

Matthews received her first grant as part of the Sister Cities International program and travelled to Mainz, Germany in 2006 to represent the City of Louisville, Kentucky and the United States during the tenure of Mayor Jerry Abramson. She participated in the Kunst in der Stadt, Kuenstlerarbeiten Public Exhibition at Gutenbergplatz, Mainz, Germany. Fourteen artists, two artists each from seven countries, were selected to participate. Her work while in Mainz was a permanent gift to the City of Mainz, Germany from the City of Louisville, KY.[citation needed] Later that year, she participated in the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth Appalachian Mountain Witness Tour for Artists and Writers in the fall of 2006, which marked the beginning of her decades-long body of large scale bronze Dryads, titled Messengers. In 2007, on Earth Day, she completed a 210' long Ephemeral Environmental Sculpture Installation, called Water is Life for the Louisville Zoo, an AZA and AAM Museum, with the help of 20 volunteers. Diane Heilenman, Visual Arts Critic for the Courier Journal stated, "The work, 'Water is Life,' fits the context of all her sculptures and paintings, which are often about environmental issues."

In 2015, she founded the Artemis Initiative, an IRS approved 501(c)(3) Public Charity.[citation needed]

In 2018, her work honoring Alice Allison Dunnigan, the first African American female to receive White House and Congressional credentials, was unveiled at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. The statue of Alice Dunnigan traveled extensively and was featured for programming at Kentucky State University, University of Kentucky, and the Truman Presidential Library. The bronze sculpture of Alice Dunnigan now permanently stands at the SEEK Museum in Russellville, KY, which was added to the United States civil rights trail in 2020.

In 2019, she was selected to create a monumental sculptural installation titled, "The Girl Puzzle", in New York City on Roosevelt Island honoring investigative reporter Nellie Bly, which was planned to be unveiled in 2020, but due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, was completed and unveiled on December 10, 2021.

On November 14, 2021, at Kentucky's COVID-19 Memorial Ceremony to mourn the over 10,000 Kentuckians who lost their life to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was announced that Matthews design proposal "United We Stand, Divided We Fall" (based on the Kentucky State Motto) was chosen for the permanent Team KY COVID-19 Memorial Monument.

Matthews is Nettie Depp’s great-great niece, and a bronze statue of Nettie created by Matthews was approved for display in the Kentucky Capitol. It is the first permanent large-scale monument of a woman inside that state capitol. While Nettie's influence was not statewide, the Historic Properties Advisory Commission considered her a representative example of Kentucky women who achieved professional and personal success. The statue’s unveiling occurred in November 2022.

Selected public works and collections

Nominations and Awards

  • 2023 - Awarded 2022 Governor's Award in the Arts, Artist Award
  • 2022 - Elected Chair of the Kentucky Oral History Commission
  • 2022 - Elected Vice Chair of the Kentucky Oral History Commission
  • 2021 - Small Business Association (SBA) Pacesetter Award; awarded to Amanda Matthews, Prometheus Art for The Girl Puzzle Monument
  • 2020 - Appointed as member of the Kentucky Oral History Commission by Governor Andy Beshear
  • 2019 - Board/Committee Member, Monumental Women of Kentucky
  • 2018 - NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) Kentucky Chapter awards Matthews 2018 "Strive Business Owner of the Year" Award
  • 2018 - National Association of Women in Construction (Lexington Bluegrass Chapter 367) Bluegrass Diamond Award

Public mentions and media

  • 2022 - CNN: Kentucky unveils statue of Nettie Depp, the first woman to have a permanent large-scale monument inside the state Capitol
  • 2022 - LEX18 News: Nettie Depp statue unveiled at the Kentucky State Capitol
  • 2021 - Office of NY Governor: Governor Hochul Announces Opening of the Girl Puzzle Monument Honoring Nellie Bly
  • 2021 - NBC News Now: How Roosevelt Island sculptures amplify stories of strong women
  • 2021 - CBS Saturday Morning News: Monument honoring journalist Nellie Bly opens: "This installation is spiritual"
  • 2021 - Office of KY Governor: Kentucky Artist Amanda Matthews to construct permanent Team Kentucky COVID-19 Memorial
  • 2021 - Lexington Herald Leader: 'Not just a number.' Kentucky art installation will honor 10,000-plus COVID-19 deaths
  • 2021 - The Courier-Journal: 20 Months, more than 10,000 deaths: Kentucky memorializes those who have died from COVID
  • 2021 - The Lily (Washington Post): This Massive Monument to Women is Quietly Taking Shape in New York City
  • 2020 - New York Times: Placing Women on a Different Sort of Pedestal
  • 2020 - Smithsonian Magazine: Kentucky State Capitol Will Unveil Its First Statue Honoring a Woman
  • 2020 - Smithsonian Magazine: The Must-See Outdoor Art Installations of 2020 Amanda Matthews' The Girl Puzzle, New York City, listed 3rd on worldwide list of 9
  • 2019 - C-SPAN: African American Journalist Alice Allison Dunnigan Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum, Dr. Nancy Dawson, Amanda Matthews, Soraya Dunnigan presented
  • 2019 - Winchester Sun: Shade Sculpture will soon 'grow' at Legacy Grove
  • 2018 - Politics: First black female White House reporter gets Newseum statue, The Washington Post
  • 2018 - NATIONAL: Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman To Cover White House, Gets Statue At Newseum, NPR, All Things Considered
  • 2018 - Alice Dunnigan, First Black Woman to Cover White House, Will Get Statue at Newseum, The New York Times
  • 2017 - Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission approves life-size sculpture of Nettie Depp for Kentucky Capitol
  • 2016 – Dunnigan to be honored with bronze statue
  • 2016 – Aviation Museum to unveil bronze sculpture of aviation pioneer Van Meter
  • 2015 – Lexington sculptor seeks – and starts creating – more statues of notable Kentucky women, minorities, Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KY
  • 2015 – Appeared in Documentary Film, Dreamers and Doers: VOICES of Kentucky Women
  • 2015 – Restored Gratz Park 'kids' return to James Lane Allen fountain
  • 2013 – Dr. George Zach bronze portrait unveiled at Singletary Center for the Arts, in Lexington, KY, University of Kentucky Art Museum Permanent Collection
  • 2010 – Stephen Elrod Memorial bronze sculpture unveiled at Georgetown College
  • April 22, 2007 – Water is Life Ephemeral Environmental Art Installation at the Louisville Zoo, Courier Journal, Critics Pick by Diane Heilenman, visual art critic
  • July 2006 – Amanda Matthews (Fields) work featured in Germany's Der Mainzer Magazine[citation needed]
  • May 2006 – Art World News magazine lists Amanda Matthews (Fields) on their Artists Worth Watching list.

See also

This page was last updated at 2024-02-04 18:08 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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