Organizers inhometown announced plans Tuesday to try to raise $125,000 to build a life-size bronze statue of the late .
The statue would go in front of the Virginia Theatre in Champaign, Ill., which has hosted the Ebertfest film festival for 15 years. Ebert, a TV personality and the first film reviewer to ever win a Pulitzer Prize, grew up in neighboring Urbana and attended the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.
The sculpture will show Ebert sitting in the middle of three movie theater chairs giving his signatureArtist Rick Harney of Bloomington, Ill., will create the sculpture. Ebert's widow, Chaz Ebert, selected the composition and organizers said she will work with Harney on the design.
"The sculpture will be a permanent memorial which will honor Ebert for both his career and his dedication to his roots," said a statement announcing the fundraising campaign. "It will also honor him for his determination to press forward with Ebertfest in the face of huge medical challenges."
Organizers hope to have the sculpture ready to unveil and dedicate at next year's Ebertfest in April.
Ebert cancer. He was 70.in April in after a years-long battle with
Along with his nationally syndicated Chicago Sun-Times column, Ebert became famous hosting a TV movie review show with fellow critic Gene Siskel of the Chicago Tribune.