By Ian Bush
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) — Two years after Penn State ripped down a statue of the late Joe Paterno, a group is working to commission a new one — with a fundraising campaign beginning this summer and a renowned Montgomery County sculptor tapped to create it.
University president Rodney Erickson called the original likeness of JoePa a ‘recurring wound to the victims of child abuse.’ The football coach was never charged in the Sandusky scandal, though an investigative report found he was part of the cover-up.
The group of State College residents pushing for the new sculpture want to put it across the street from campus. Glenside artist Zenos Frudakis is designing this Paterno in bronze on a bench.
“So people could sit with him, they could have their photos taken with him. They can remember what it was like seeing him in town — he was very accessible to people, he wasn’t standoffish,” Frudakis said.
Frudakis says it’s a nearly year-long process that begins with him creating a rough sketch and a smaller model based on hundreds of photographs of Paterno.
“This is a piece that has to have a very good likeness of him — people expect that and they should. And it’s a piece that has to be accurate in every way — what kind of clothes would he have worn, his height, weight. It also has have some poetry in it — you’re emphasizing certain things to get something across about who he was. I have a lot of clay that was used for a lot of the major monuments in the country, and I’ll be using that to make the Joe Paterno.”
Penn State says it’s not involved in the plan. But the owner of the Tavern Restaurant on College Avenue has said he’s interested in having the statue in front of the pub. A Kickstarter drive aims to raise $300,000.
Frudakis, whose works include the Phillies Greats at Citizens Bank Park and the Air Force Memorial Honor Guard in Arlington, Virginia, is only the sculptor, but says he realizes that art and controversy sometimes collide.
“I hope that a lot of this can be positive. Joe Paterno did some very positive things for so long. This is a good way to get some of that energy back to the community.”
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