Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) — There’s a new sculpture in downtown Columbia that’s sharing a universal message from students at the South Carolina School for the Deaf and the Blind (SCSDB). The statue, which features sign language, was dedicated Wednesday morning by city and school officials.

“This is an ASL ‘I love you’ sign, and it represents the love that the state has for our school and vice versa,” said SCSDB Fine Arts Coordinator Josh Padgett.

Students at SCSDB worked with South Carolina artist Bob Doster to create the new sculpture. It features hand shapes by students which were then cut and patched together.

“They would actually cut, with a blow torch, they would cut their hands out of the sculpture. So they actually got to create and be a part of it,” said Padgett.

“I was, I enjoyed making that. It was a great process, it was hard work, we did a lot of teamwork with all of the welding and everything, but I was really proud to be a part of that,” said Alasia, 16, who’s a student at SCSDB.

“I just know I was humbled by the experience working with them,” said sculpture artist Bob Doster.

Members of the student choir were at the dedication, and celebrated with several songs.

“When people walk by and see this, I hope they see the hundreds of hands created by students and people all over the state of South Carolina. And we all come together with different backgrounds, we’re all different, but we come together to form one wonderful, meaning piece of art,” said Padgett.

“It’s so inspirational that they have installed this here. I mean really it’s just making people more aware of deafness all over,” said Alasia.  The new art piece will remind people that saying ‘I love you’ is a universal message.

“I guess when people see this statue, I mean obviously they see that it means ‘I love you,’ but they’ll also think of the school for the deaf,” said Alasia.  The sculpture was made possible through the SCSDB Foundation.

Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin was at Wednesday’s Sculpture Dedication and accepted it on behalf of the city.  The sculpture is on the corner of Lincoln and Senate streets in downtown Columbia.