ROCKLAND — Artist Jay Sawyer announces a formal dedication of his public memorial display titled EL FARO SALUTE! at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 24 at 44 Atlantic Ave. in Rockland.

The event is open to the public and will take place rain or shine. Early arrival is suggested. The steel sculpture, EL FARO SALUTE! is a memorial to the 33 precious souls lost at sea when their ship, the SS El Faro, went down during Hurricane Joaquin on Oct.1, 2015. The crew included five Maine Maritime Academy graduates; four lived in Maine and two were Rockland residents — 34-year-old second mate Danielle Randolph and 23-year-old third assistant engineer Dylan Meklin. In all, eight crew members called New England home.

The dedication ceremony on Sept. 24 will open with a brief musical performance by Bay Winds North Wind Ensemble, followed by a Color Guard procession. After a welcome address by Sawyer, brief remarks will be given by Rockland Mayor Ed Glaser, Farnsworth Art Museum Curator Jane Bianco, Penobscot Marine Museum Executive Director Karen Smith, Maine Maritime Academy graduate John Buckley ( Class of 1981), representatives from the Boston and Portland Marine Societies and Author and Rev. Peter Panagore.

After graduating from Maine Maritime Academy, Sawyer worked as a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Engineer aboard oil tankers. Following his entrepreneurial yearnings, he came ashore and started a welding company. His passion for form and visual balance along with his natural talent for working with metal resulted in a transition to the creative studio he operates now. When news of the SS El Faro sinking reached him, he felt deeply that the unique combination of his experience on the high seas and a track record of successful public art projects, it was his responsibility to acknowledge the tragedy and honor the crew that perished.

Sawyer says, “After creating sculptures in memory of several people that have influenced my life, I have come to know first hand the potential for art to heal. I hope that all who have suffered a personal loss will take some comfort from this.”

Sawyer is well known in Maine for his series of fabricated spheres. His work entitled “A Spirit of Its Own” can be seen at the entrance to Portland Jetport. “Endless Trot” is part of the permanent collection at Owls Head Transportation Museum and “Ridin’ the Rails to Rockland” is prominently placed at the end of the rail line overlooking Sandy Beach in Rockland. Jay has participated in numerous joint and solo exhibits and has pieces in private collections across the country. He maintains a creative environment known as Studio JBONE which includes a sculpture park that has been called a ‘Maine treasure,’ at his home in Warren, Maine.

Additional information regarding the ceremony and parking will be posted at as it becomes available.

The fundraising for the memorial has been quite tightly focused on the broad professional maritime community. Fundraising will continue through the Penobscot Marine Museum. Sawyer said the dedication is another sphere in itself and he will switch his fundraising for this arena to the local community. He said he has been in talks with several members of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce and will be reaching out to others in the community in the coming days.

Costs such as stage, tent, chairs, portable toilets, managerial time to organize, etc., will be on another line at the museum to accept contributions.

“I am hoping that the local community sees this public memorial as good for the community and they may have a desire to kick in and help to cover these costs as the organizers are attempting to make the visitors that will travel to Rockland for the dedication feel so welcome that they want to return to our great city,” he said.

Any community members that would like to contribute monies or services to make this dedication all it can be are encouraged to contact jay at