Previously vandalized sculpture relocated to Scuola Vita Nuova

By Melissa Wharton
Northeast News

A sculpture that was vandalized at Independence Park Plaza in August has found a new home at Scuola Vita Nuova.

The terra cotta sculpture, by local artist Elaina Michalski, was commissioned for the Independence Plaza Park Celebration. The piece is titled Water, Earth, and Sky and depicts a woman praying or meditating.

“The piece is about the similarities between women and the natural world, and the idea of uplifting women and uplifting the natural world,” Michalski said.

The piece was intended to remain in the park for three months, but Michalski said it didn’t last more than three days. She said the sculpture was pushed over and its arms broken off, and that an unidentified man is suspected to have done it.

“The idea that it was harmed is just concerning, and this is bringing up the issue of violence against women,” Michalski said. “As you can see, the sculpture is nonviolent. I thought it was important for women in particular to be uplifted and strengthened. If someone would do that to a sculpture of a woman, they would certainly do that to a real person.”

But thanks to SVN, the sculpture has found a place of refuge.

“The piece now, through [Principal Nicole] Goodman’s offer, has been moved to a protective location,” Michalski said. “She’s near a school. And I think it’s really meaningful moving her from a vulnerable place to a protective one.”

The piece won’t be able to remain outside indefinitely due to its clay design, but Goodman and Michalski are working out how to move forward with its display.

“She’s like new again. After spending several weeks repairing her, she’s like new,” Michalski said. “I don’t think you’d ever be able to tell she was harmed.”

SVN principal Nicole Goodman stands behind Elaina Michalski’s sculpture.

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