A flag display representing McCracken County residents who have died from COVID-19 has grown to include more than 160 flags since the art project started last week. Still, the display has faced some challenges, as some of the flags went missing and had to be replaced.
The display has since moved from outside A.I.R. Studio on Madison Street to the Texaco Station Information Center in Lower Town on the corner of Seventh and Madison streets.
Alonzo Davis, an artist who owns A.I.R. Studio in Paducah and is currently working in Maryland, previously told The Sun he was inspired by a large white flag display outside the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C. More than 600,000 flags were on display to represent people across the U.S. who died from COVID. Davis collaborated with another local artist, Char Downs, and enlisted her help in creating the local display. They invited the public to help plant some small white flags to honor McCracken County residents who died of COVID.
Some of the white flags on display have names or personal messages written on them from people who wanted to plant a flag in memory of someone they knew who died.
Downs said she has been able to replace the flags that may have been taken from the display. She said about 50 flags, some of them with messages written on them, were missing when she checked on it last weekend. After that, she moved the display from A.I.R. Studio to the Texaco Station Information Center so she and other Lower Town residents could help keep an eye on the display.
A neighbor donated more white flags to Downs when they learned she had run out of flags to replace the ones that were taken, Downs said.
Downs said McCracken County Judge-Executive Craig Clymer offered space near the McCracken County Courthouse for the COVID flag display so courthouse workers could also assist in making sure the display is not disturbed. At the moment, the flags are still in Lower Town, but the display could potentially move to the courthouse if more flags go missing, Downs said.
Clymer said the flag display is an “important project,” adding if the county can help in any way, “we want to offer that support.”
As of Friday, 171 people in McCracken County have died from COVID-19 since March 2020, according to data from the Purchase District Health Department. Downs said she would add to the display if there are more COVID deaths in the next few weeks.
The flag project will be on display until Nov. 11, Downs said.
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