Update, July 14: Looks like Joe’s Bench is back to square one with its statue design. The project issued a release today saying that sculptor Zenos Frudakis is working on a revised model of the statue, while defending its initial rationale for designing Paterno without a bench.
Here’s the release verbatim:
We want to thank everyone who has offered to assist us over the last few
days. The response has been humbling. Of course, our team is not all
sitting in one place, and it is summer, so we apologize for the slow
response, but we wanted to be as united as possible.
To those who have stood firm, and addressed the issues associated with
the community’s effort to Honor Joe in a calm and patient way (despite
your frustrations), we thank you even more.
Because this is a community-driven effort, and the bench concept
continues to be incredibly popular, Zenos Frudakis is currently working on
a revised model of Joe Paterno, and we will have that made public the
minute the Joe’s Bench team receives it.
In the meantime, for those who have made themselves heard, we hope
that a reasoned and productive, community-uniting effort can continue.
A date for installing the final sculpture has yet to be determined.
During the last week, we have faced many challenges, and been personally
attacked for simply doing something we felt, and still feel, is the right
thing to do. Therefore, if our own sense of compromise warrants
anything, perhaps it will be more personal involvement – on every level.
And finally, please keep in mind that there will be no further changes once
a new design is developed, which could take months to finalize. Donating
to the project is not a contract for input on the design. It is an
agreement to support Joe Paterno being honored.
On Friday, after the new reveal, the project received its largest number of
daily donations since the beginning– including a match for $25,000. When
told last night of the change again, the reply from the anonymous match
donor was, “It is for Joe. Zenos Frudakis was being commissioned to do
this. I know his work. And I trust him implicitly.”
So do we. And we thank that donor for stepping up.
Now it’s time to get to work in a productive way. You can join this effort
and help us get there, or you can pass. In any case, know that we are
committed to succeeding with honor. And, in the end, those who make it
happen will be rewarded only by knowing generations to come will have a
place to visit the Joe we know. And remember him.
Original story, July 11: The design for the Joe’s Bench project was revealed yesterday, showing that Joe Paterno’s likeness won’t be sitting on a bench after all.
The project’s reveal shows that Paterno’s statue will now feature him standing up atop a base with yardlines on it. The original plan for the $300,000 project was to have Paterno sitting on a bench outside The Tavern, reading Vergil’s “Aeneid.” When it was announced in April, organizer and former Letterman’s Club President Ted Sebastianelli said the project would be called “Reflections” after its completion.
Sculptor Zenos Frudakis explained his reasoning for the change in a press release:
“I felt the bench was a cliché, and Joe was not a cliché. Anyone can sit on a bench, there are many statues with people sitting on a bench, Joe was an active individual, and he was not a bench warmer,” Frudakis said. “I wanted this piece to represent his 61 years of accomplishments, and to remind and re-educate people of who he was. It was an opportunity to restore the balance that he deserves.”
But commenters on the project’s Facebook page were none too pleased, to put it lightly.
Sebastianelli said he was initially displeased with the change, as well. But after seeing the new design first-hand, he changed tune.
“I took the time to show it to groups of individuals and they were really excited about it,” Sebastianelli said. “They like the way Joe was postured, and it goes hand-in-hand with what the sculptor talked about as far as Joe always being on the move.”
Sabastianelli also noted that the yardline base will allow people to sit, though it’s not a bench. He said Joe’s Bench received a $25,000 anonymous donation this morning that will go to both the statue and the production of “People’s Joe.”
“I wish people would give it a chance,” Sebastianelli said. “This sculptor really wanted to capture Joe so no one would really think it was anyone else but Joe, and he was really able to do that.”
Here’s the video the project used to unveil the design:
The project plans a November 2015 completion.