Statue at The Diamond to be Sold
The giant statue of an Indian Brave that has loomed over the Diamond for almost 25 years is coming down, and its owner, the Richmond Metropolitan Authority, is looking for a good home.
The Richmond Braves have gone…to be replaced by a new team called the Flying Squirrels…so the Indian Statue no longer belongs.
McElroy: When Connecticut was first installed in 1985 at the Diamond it was a good fit for the Richmond Braves organization.
Linda McElroy, RMA.
McElroy: But now that the team has moved on and the Richmond Flying Squirrels have taken up residence at the stadium we feel the time is right for Connecticut to find a new home.
The RMA will be asking for proposals later this week, from anybody who wants it, will take care of it, will give the public access to it…and can afford to move it.
McElroy: It’s 2400 pounds, it measures 10 feet tall, 23 feet wide and 14 feet deep.
RMA might even be willing to donate it to the right party…or accept partial payment.
DiPasquali: A lot of people don’t know that Connecticut was originally designed to go in Washington, D.C., at Connecticut and Calvin Sts.
Richmond sculptor Paul DiPasquali gave up his teaching, and tenure, and health insurance, and a regular paycheck to create Connecticut, on speculation it might be purchased for a building in Washington at Connecticut and Calvin, overlooking Rock Creek Park.
DiPasquali: Not that it was going to stay at that site, but I did want it to be homage to the native American in the capitol of America. That’s where it started.
That didn’t work out. But it did attract the attention of the Sydney Lewises of Best Products.
DiPasquali: In fact it was leased by Best Products when they were doing artful things with their building for building in Washington, and then, when they gave all their artwork to Virginia Museum, they gave the Indian back to me. That’s when I offered to loan it to the Diamond because I didn’t want to store it at Allied Van Lines, because I was living in California at the time.
After a year, it was purchased for the RMA by a Citizens’ Committee to Save the Braves and Signet bank…and there it has remained for almost 25 years.
Fishburne: So you really did this originally as a tribute to the native American?
DiPasquali: Well, that’s my interest in public sculpture.
Fishburne: Well, I’m thinking to have it as an adjunct to a ballpark is not necessarily everybody’s best idea as to how to be respectful.
DiPasquali: That’s right, it wouldn’t have been my first choice, but it was 1985 that it went up when the Diamond opened. I did call Chief Atkins at the time and asked him about it and he looked at pictures and he said, “Well, you know, it’s not good that it’s at the baseball stadium, but on the other hand we don’t have any other statues and it speaks respectfully toward native Americans.”
Connecticut found a home at the Diamond, and DiPasquali went on to make a name for himself with the Arthur Ashe statue on Monument Avenue, Oliver Hill for the Black History Museum of Virginia, King Neptune for Virginia Beach, to name a few. But he is eager now to see one of the works that launched his career find a proper home.
Fishburne: Where would you like to see Connecticut wind up?
DiPasquali: Well, I think Richmond’s appropriate. When you think of who the first settlers in Richmond were, they were in fact the Indians. The reason for that was the falls of the James. So anywhere overlooking the river district or the tidal basin would be a great spot for it, in terms of speaking to why Richmond was settled. That’s where I would like to see it go, would be somewhere relative to the river.
The RMA owns the Diamond and the statue, and this week will begin taking proposals from those who might be interested in Connecticut.
DiPasquali: Now that he’s been here for 24 years, I’d like to think that people would like him to stay. I think there are a lot of people that would like to see him stay and would be disappointed if he went elsewhere.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News