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Welcome to Frank’s Table Birmingham!
The National Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Society, Alabama-Mississippi Chapter (NMSS) unveiled and dedicated a new sculpture honoring Birmingham’s legendary chef and restauranteur Frank Stitt at the 24th Street entrance of The Rotary Trail.
“Today is a culmination of an amazing campaign that we conducted in 2018,” stated Andrew Bell, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s president of the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter. “Every year, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in Birmingham conducts a “Legacy of Leadership” campaign where we recognize an individual or a family that has made a significant impact on the community through their contribution toward philanthropic and civic engagement in the community.
In 2018, we recognized Frank Stitt and his amazing work and what he has been able to do for Birmingham through his culinary work.”
According to Bell, at the conclusion of each campaign, 80% of the funds raised are used to conduct MS research and enact programs and services that support people living with MS. Twenty percent of the funds are used to make a beautiful piece of artwork that was unveiled. This year’s campaign raised $305,000. Over $5 million has been raised by the Legacy of Leadership Campaign over nearly two decades.
Created by artist, Greg Fitzpatrick, the sculpture “Frank’s Table” commemorates the work and impact of Frank Stitt, on Birmingham’s culinary scene and overall culture.
“He (Stitt) wanted to do some piece of artwork with bees. I discovered that the honeybee’s pair of wings have to act as one wing in order to fly. So that’s a metaphor for the whole work. Coming together to be able to do something. The small wing hooks on to the big wing and that’s how the honeybee gets its lift. Otherwise they just act independently and fan in the hive.
It’s the two things coming together to be one thing in order to get the lift to fly. So the metaphor is that all things need to come together to make progress. It’s not an isolated event. The backs of the chairs are the wings as well. What happened was, when I started to draw the base of the sculpture, it looked like a table. With Frank being a chef, it was a no brainer.” ~ Greg Fitzpatrick’s Description of Frank’s Table
Stitt, who is the owner and executive chef at Highlands Bar and Grill, Bottega’s Restaurant and Chez Fon Fon was very pleased with Fitzpatrick’s sculpture.
“It is just so exciting. Getting to know Greg has been such a wonderful experience. I was talking about this idea of bees and how they contribute to our environment, our community, and he took that along with what we do when we all come to table, in that this is a table where everyone can come and sit and be together and be one with nature.”
Located at the 24th Street and 1st Avenue South entrance on the Rotary Trail, “Frank’s Table” is being donated to the City of Birmingham by the National MS Society.
19 Pieces of Art City-Wide
Through it’s unique Legacy campaign, the Alabama-Mississippi Chapter of the NMSS has been quietly built up a collection of 19 pieces of art that can be seen throughout Birmingham.
Since 1997, the chapter has selected annually a Birmingham community leader as honoree. It then commissions a piece of artwork commemorating the honoree’s lasting legacy in the community.
The effort to commission these original works of art raises money to support vital research for MS that is taking place here in Birmingham at UAB and for programs that support people living with MS and their families.
Past Legacy of Leadership Award honorees are:
Elton B. Stephens
the Beeson and Ireland families
Dr. Neal Berte
Lee Styslinger III
Public works of art commemorating past honorees are on view throughout Birmingham including at Regions Harbert Plaza, the Alabama Power Building, the McWane Center, the Daniel Building, the Financial Center, the Birmingham Museum of Art and the Birmingham Zoo.
“We are, as always, grateful to have such an engaged community of corporate and private donors who have made this campaign a reality for the last 20 years,” added Bell. “Their support has helped us recognize significant leaders in our community while simultaneously moving closer to our goal of creating a world free of MS.”