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    Friday, December 08, 2023

    Artist sculpts likeness of actress Katharine Hepburn

    Kimberly Monson works on the sculpture of Katharine Hepburn in the studio she shares with her husband, Michael Viera, in Lyme. (Michael Viera)

    When Lyme artist Kimberly Monson set out to sculpt an award in the likeness of Katharine Hepburn, which would be presented to Dick Cavett, she looked to their famous interview for inspiration.

    Cavett, an author and host of “The Dick Cavett Show,” was awarded last month the first “Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award” from the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center in Old Saybrook.

    “It is a fascinating and charming exchange between them that helped me work out my approach to the sculpture,” said Monson, who teaches at the Lyme Academy College of Fine Arts in Old Lyme.

    After watching the interview on “The Dick Cavett Show” over and over to understand the dynamic between the two and ascertain Hepburn’s personality traits, Monson kept the surface of the sculpture loose to avoid a fussy or overworked feeling.

    Since Hepburn was direct, Monson reinforced the immediacy of the work and conveyed directness by showing her hand, texture, or touch with the surface, she said during an email interview.

    Monson also noted that it was important for the gesture to feel strong yet casual and to show strength through the structure.

    “I spent a long time working out posture, the set of her shoulders, and the tilt of her head,” Monson said. “It’s the time spent on the details that contributes to elevating the material so she feels elegant.”

    “I think I fell a bit in love while working on such an intimate piece,” she added. “I hope the intimacy and respect shows through.”

    Cavett received the award at the Summer Gala for the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center on Aug. 27 at the Old Saybrook Town Green.

    The award “will be bestowed yearly upon an individual who embodies the spirit, independence and character of the legendary actress,” according to a news release.

    Monson studied at the Lyme Academy College and New York Academy of Art. She won the Walter and Michael Lantz Prize at the National Sculpture Competition, received the National Sculpture Society Merit Scholarship, and was commissioned to create a sculpture of John Steinbeck.

    "We at the Kate were thrilled to work with Kimberly and see our vision come to life," said Dana Foster, director of development and external relations for the Kate. "Kimberly has enormous talent, drive, and passion for her work and we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect person to bring Katharine alive for our Spirit of Katharine Hepburn Award. We think Kimberly shares that bold, independent, and feisty spirit with Katharine and we valued having her working with us.”


    Lyme artist Kimberly Monson’s sculpture of Katharine Hepburn at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center’s summer gala in August in Old Saybrook. (Bill O’Brien)

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