The Memoria Project, Inc. announces plans to create a commemorative sculpture to the victims of September 11, 2001 on Sandy Hook Gateway National Recreation Area. Monmouth County, NJ, sculptor Stephen Shaheen, along with a dedicated team of planners, are in the process of realizing a large marble and granite monument to be built between May 1, 2002 and August 31, 2002. An unveiling ceremony is planned on or around September 11, 2002 at the final resting location, yet to be determined.

Unlike many memorials, which are created off-site, the process of the Memoria Project is intended to be interactive and open to the public. Community members, beachgoers, and students will look on -- and in some cases lend a hand -- as Shaheen and two Italian colleagues carve out figures from two 13-foot blocks of marble. In addition, educational art programs are being planned to surround the construction during the summer months, with workshops, seminars, and demonstrations to be held on-site. "We want the process to be healing and enriching to the community that was so devastated by the attacks this past September," said Shaheen, who is also the Memoria Project President and the artist behind the design of the memorial. "It's only one small step on a long road to closure, but if we can help further that on an individual and community level, then our goal will have been achieved."

The Project is being funded through private and public contributions and in-kind donations. "We are extremely grateful to Vermont Quarries Corp., who generously donated 35 tons -- approximately $20,000 worth -- of Royal Danby white marble to the Project," says Evan Urbania, Executive Director of the Project. "The response from the community so far has been overwhelmingly positive, and we could not have gotten this far without the enthusiasm and dedication of the persons involved." In addition to donations of natural stone, firms such as Regent Stone Products of Virginia Beach, VA, have donated stoneworking supplies to the project.

The Memoria Project, Inc. is currently seeking contributions and assistance from the general public. "We have had some generous donations, but more funding is needed if we wish to achieve our goals by this summer," said Urbania. For more information, visit on the Internet.