The Road to Venus - Statues Travel Three States Before Ashland Arrival

Emily C. Roush

The Ashland Beacon


Photo Submitted | Courtesy photos from Ashland Welding & Fabrication

   The highly anticipated unveiling of three pieces of art by world renowned sculptor Gines Serran-Pagan is set to take place this fall. The large bronze statues titled Genesis, Vulcan, and Venus each measure more than 40 feet tall and are intended to depict different aspects of Ashland’s history and culture. The statues recently arrived in town, completing a journey that is as epic as their size. A lot has been written about the process of creating the statues and their artistic merits, but how did this massive artwork collection physically arrive in Ashland?

   Local delivery company LR Daniels Transportation had the responsibility of taking the three statues on the final leg of their journey. According to owner Landen Daniels, the statues have been the most unique items his company has transported over the years. “I’ve hauled a lot of stuff, but I’ve never hauled anything like it,” Daniels recalled. He has a wealth of experience in transporting oversized items but recognized the differences in transporting artwork. “We had to be much more gentle with them than we do with a piece of equipment. It’s a lot different than hauling an excavator” he stated.

   The process of moving the artwork to Ashland required extensive preparation and paperwork. The statues are considered oversized items thus state issued permits are required to transport them. Daniels needed to drive the statues across three states (Virginia, West Virginia, and Kentucky); therefore, he had to apply for permits in all three. “The permits have to line up,” emphasized Daniels while explaining that they had a window of just three days to coordinate and receive permits from each state. A lot of planning also went into the route. Each state has specific roads designated for transporting oversized items. Daniels’ company was not allowed to deviate from the route outlined by the permits.

   Daniels said his company was familiar with the extensive paperwork and procedures for transporting oversized cargo as his company has experience hauling other large items. However, moving the statues involved an additional step his company had not yet taken before: picking up items from an ocean port. Serran-Pagan created the massive artwork at a facility in China. The pieces traveled by sea and arrived at port in the United States at Newport News, Virginia. Receiving items from a seaport presented a new level of paperwork and permit applications that needed to align in order to bring the artwork to Ashland.

   After securing the necessary permits, planning the route and loading the statues at port, Daniels was finally able take them on this last part of their journey. “We had them for close to 600 miles,” Daniels said. He noted that the trip by car using traditional routes would cover a shorter distance, but they had to stick to the roads and highways approved by the states across which they traveled. This part of the journey proved to be the most entertaining and quite a sight for other vehicles on the road.

   The statues were laid flat in open air cage containers and placed within hauling trailers. This meant that parts of the pieces were visible. The statue of Venus depicts a woman standing with one arm outstretched. Since she was flat in the shipping vessel, her arm was erected upward toward the sky and was long enough her hand was visible to passersby. “That was the funniest thing about the whole process. Venus’ arm was straight up above the trailer. All you could see was this giant hand,” Daniels laughed. He continued, “There were lots of pictures. People slowed down while passing us, and we could see them pull out their phones.” Daniels noted that seeing the reactions of other drivers was as funny to his crew as seeing the giant hand was to the other drivers.

   Now that Daniels and his company have successfully brought the statues to Ashland, the artwork will wait in storage while preparations are made at their permanent home on the riverfront. When the time comes, Daniels will be on hand to take them there.