Wednesday, Dec. 5, Comer Library honored the Alabama Marble Company for its support with a plaque installed on the Library Foundation’s “Partners in Lifelong Learning” Wall.
Stephen Musolino, founder and president of the Alabama Marble Company, and his son, Anthony Musolino, general manager of the company, accepted the awards.
The ceremony to present the Library Fellow Award to the Musolinos preceded Comer Library’s annual Christmas Concert, where approximately 250 people were gathered to give thanks and to celebrate the reason for the holiday season.
Library director Dr. Shirley Spears acquainted the audience with the magnitude of the industry’s support for Comer Library’s family literacy sculpting project, which will grace the front grounds of the facility.
“It seemed so fitting for so many of our citizens to be here for this public thank you to the Musolino family and to the Alabama Marble Company,” Spears said. “We are so blessed to have this municipal library for the people of the Sylacauga area. We thank our city fathers often for recognizing the importance of our mission. Their support is the foundation of this library, the ground that we stand on every day.”
But we do reach for the stars and make the effort to give extras to our people, Spears said.
“This calls for good friends, like the Alabama Marble Company,” she said.
Spears also commented on Comer Library’s Sylacauga Marble Sculpture Collection, which was financed in part by grants that the library has written for the last six years to the Alabama State Council on the Arts.
“In addition to the Italian Master Sculptors’ work, we have some beautiful pieces that were given in honor or in memory of friends and loved ones,” she said. “We dreamed of having a family literacy scene for our grounds, an interactive grouping that would reflect our emphasis on reading as the foundation of all learning. We were fortunate to have a generous friend, a native of Sylacauga, sponsor the sculpting scene, which pictures a father reading to two children and an empty seat inviting everyone to be a part of reading and learning.”
Our resident sculptor, Craigger Browne, did the beautiful drawings for the marble sculptures and agreed to do the sculpting, Spears said.
Coosa Valley Medical Center furnished a sculpting site so everyone could learn from and enjoy the sculpting process, Spears said.
“This is an opportunity to literally see the magic of marble as that family emerges from the marble,” she said.
Spears also told of the importance of the Alabama Marble Company’s donation.
“The Comer Library staff and board found itself in the position of having a site, a sculptor and a donor, but the library needed marble, lots of beautiful, white Sylacauga marble for the project,” she said. “We took the drawings to our friends at the Alabama Marble Company and gave them the opportunity to help us bring this beautiful, meaningful and lasting sculpture to fruition for the people of Sylacauga, and actually for the world.”
Spears told of the trip that she and her husband, Ted, took together to ask the Alabama Marble Company to partner with the library and the Marble Festival to make the sculpting project happen.
“Anthony Musolino liked the drawings and the idea of supporting literacy and helping the town,” she said. “He called his father, Stephen, who lives in Miami, and recommended that Alabama Marble assist with the project.”
Stephen Musolino pledged the company’s support for the project and approximately 40,000 pounds of white Sylacauga marble was brought to the sculpting site, Spears said.
Dr. Ted Spears, chairman of the Sylacauga Marble Festival, also praised the generosity of the Musolinos.
“The contributions of Stephen and Tony Musolino to the promotion of Sylacauga’s marble have been critical to the resurrection of the artistic use of our stone,” he said. “They have worked tirelessly to help in a myriad of ways.
“Tony Musolino has made the quarry and factory available to tour groups and helped solidify our relationships with colleges and universities from all over, including the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Florida State, Tulane, and Columbia as well as other school and church groups,” Ted Spears said.
“He has donated time and stone to the Sylacauga Marble Festival and for the municipal grounds, and he has worked closely with our local and international sculptors, making them feel welcome and comfortable,” he said.
“Mr. Musolino was born in Italy, graduated from the University of Messina and became the director of an elementary school,” he said. “Now I know why he loved the family reading sculpture scene.”
Stephen Musolino came to New York City in 1958, and taught Italian at the Berlitz School of Languages for about a year. Then he got involved in the magical world of marble.
He worked for 15 years in sales and purchasing of marble products. He also became skilled in the production and management of plant and quarry operations.
In 1974, Steven Musolino moved to Miami, Fla., and established an import/export agency selling marble products on a large scale in the United States, Canada, Mexico and beyond.
“In 1998, good fortune smiled on us when Stephen purchased a small manufacturing plant near Sylacauga in order to produce white marble window sills for Home Depot,” Ted Spears said. “He later leased the entire quarry and began producing blocks for his own use and to sell. How fortuitous that event would be for the eventual resurrection of the sculpting of Sylacauga marble.
“The Musolinos deserve our gratitude,” Ted Spears said.
“They not only brought Sylacauga’s marble back to the forefront, but they also had vision and they tirelessly promoted our marble as ‘the whitest and hardest marble in the world,’” he said.
Thanks to this father and son team, Sylacauga’s reputation as “The Marble City” is growing every day, and throughout the world, Ted Spears said.
Steven Musolino and his wife of 55 years are the parents of five children.
“He is a family man as well as an entrepreneur,” Shirley Spears said.
She spoke of the plaque that was placed on the foundation wall.
“Stephen and Tony, as long as there is a Comer Library, there will be a reminder on our walls that you are indeed our partner in lifelong learning,” she said. “We extend this permanent heartfelt thanks to you with a reminder that we will always hold you in our hearts and memories as generous friends who made a difference in all of our lives.”
Vicki Miller, president of the B. B. Comer Memorial Library Foundation, presented Stephen and Tony Musolino with take-home plaques.
“We won’t forget you, but we don’t want you to forget us either,” Miller said. “We hope that these plaques convey our appreciation for your support of our wonderful library and our entire town.”
We cannot imagine a more appropriate reason to honor the Musolino family and the Alabama Marble Company than your assistance with a reminder, sculpted from our beautiful white marble, of how important it is for parents to read to their children, Miller said.