M.C. DAVIS Staff Writer
Aug 10, 1991

Her name is ``Echo,' and she eventually will call Birmingham, Ala., home.

The nymph from Greek mythology will be settled by a pond, her fingers gripping the edge of a flat stone - left to gaze at her reflection and pine for her lost love, Narcissus.The sculpture, created by Jim Ernest Barnhill of Greensboro, will be unveiled Oct. 4 in Birmingham's Botanical Gardens.

``Echo' was commissioned by Southern Progressive Corp. of Birmingham, which publishes Southern Living and Southern Accent magazines.

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is under the auspices of the Birmingham Botanical Society Inc., a non-profit group that allocates lots within the garden to those who apply. Southern Progressive hired Barnhill to make a statue for its lot at a cost of $20,000.

The piece will be the first major commissioned art work in the Botanical Gardens; it is also the artist's first major commissioned work.

Philip Morris, editor-at-large at Southern Progressive, first contacted Barnhill in March, the sculptor says.

``He said he wanted a sculpture of a little girl looking into the water. I suggested an adolescent girl who was self-absorbed looking into the water. Then a friend in the art community suggested I research the story of Echo.'

Barnhill says he took some liberties in his interpretation of the Echo tragedy; it was Narcissus who gazed into the water and fell in love with his reflection, not Echo.

The 35-year-old artist teaches figure drawing for the Center for Creative Arts and sculpture for the Greensboro City Arts/Visual Arts program. He worked on ``Echo' in a classroom in the Greensboro Cultural Center.

The statue is now being cast in bronze by the New Arts Foundry in Baltimore.

The job should be completed by Oct. 1. Then, Barnhill says, he'll pick ``Echo' up and take her to Birmingham.