Jeffrey Varilla and Anna Koh Varilla are a husband and wife sculptor team that has been working on public monuments for about twenty-five years. Stylistically, their work reflects a passion for "Classic Realism." They have produced religious and secular works for many locations around the country and overseas. Their goal as artists is to incorporate the artistry learned from the great masters of the past with the visions and aspirations of our society today.
They believe that an important role of art is to communicate with the public. As professional artists, they closely work with their clients, architects, and foundries. They believe that a work of public art is a great responsibility and that it should harmonize with the environment, clearly communicate ideas to the viewer, and should reflect the sincerity of the artist. They are Fellows at the National Sculpture Society.
Over the years, others have envisioned a monument that would add to the message of the Statue of Liberty. Their designs varied in scope, size, message and imagery. Several years ago, I was blessed with a similar idea to build a monument of historic proportions. The basic design elements and purpose were immediately put to paper and reviewed. In time, a national search was initiated to find a qualified sculptor to create this historic monument. Members of the National Sculpture Society (NSS) were notified of our RFP announcement including an invitation to submit initial design sketches. Design guidelines were provided in the RFP for what is called “the most compelling monument project to freedom of the 21st Century.” Over 270 of America’s best sculptors were invited to participate. From this lengthy evaluation process, and the subsequent years that followed, the Monument to Enduring Freedom was born.
Standing head and shoulders above all finalist submissions were the work of Anna and Jeffrey Koh-Varilla of Chicago. Their grasp of the heart and soul of this monument project became abundantly evident as their design sketch, three-foot clay maquette, and purpose statement were carefully reviewed.
In 2018 Anna and Jeffrey Koh-Varilla were officially designated as the winners of this national search. History will forever revere them as the sculptors of the Monument to Enduring Freedom.
Recognized as ‘Fellows’ – the highest and most prestigious category of membership in the NSS – Anna and Jeffrey possess exceptional talent and insight into every aspect of this project. Their proven artistic accomplishments depicting classical realism on canvas and with clay set them apart from their peers.
I am grateful and honored to welcome them as valued members of our team.
Daniel L. Bolz
Freedom Alliance, LLC
Jeffrey H. Varilla of Chicago, Illinois majored in art history at the University of Iowa and after two years transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago where he received his BFA in painting. After graduating, he briefly returned to the Art Institute to study sculpture. It was in the sculpture department where he met his future wife and sculpture partner, Anna Koh Varilla.
Anna Koh Varilla was born in Seoul, South Korea. When she was twelve years old, she was chosen along with one hundred twenty students from all over South Korea to study at Ye Won Fine Art School. Anna later enrolled in the Hong Ik Art University where she received a BFA in sculpture. She later enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and graduated with another BFA.
The monuments they’ve created together have been seen in various regions of the United States and also in South Korea and England. The Dr. Martin Luther King Monument in Austin, Texas, Soldier Field Veterans Monument in Chicago, the Vice President Humphrey Monument in St. Paul, Minnesota, the Tribute to Jack Nicklaus in Dublin, Ohio, and the Mayor Hudnut Monument in Indianapolis are a few examples of important works they’ve created over the years. In the year 2014, when Pope Francis visited Seoul, Korea, their Korean Pieta, which was part of the celebration, was dedicated by Cardinal Yum. Anna and Jeff won numerous nationwide competitions over the years. In 2016, Anna and Jeff won a nationwide competition for a Col. Neilson monument. It was dedicated on July 9, 2017, in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
The Koh Varilla Guild was created in 1986 by the husband and wife sculptor team, Jeffrey H. Varilla and Anna Koh Varilla. They specialize in Classic realism and are presently Fellows of the National Sculpture Society of New York.