On Friday, Logansport celebrated the long-anticipated arrival of the “Immigration Sculpture” in Heritage Park.
Like many of the immigrants who came to Logansport, the statue representing them did not have an easy trip to its home. There were decisions to be made and money to be raised.
And although the statue of Carrara marble was supposed to arrive in this country in spring, the pandemic slowed its travels from Italy, where it was carved.
As the statue looks over East Market Street, it’s home isn’t finished yet.
Mollie Graybeal Dunderman told the more than 65 people gathered for Friday’s dedication that there will be lights to illuminate the immigrant family at night. There will also be flowers around the area, and the names of anyone of any heritage can be added to the mostly Italian names on the base.
Jim Crain said that it’s likely there’ll be stone pillars behind the statue for the names.
The Italian-American community was a driving force in raising funds for the statue and bringing it to the community.
Most of the five speakers mentioned Kathy Dingo and Pam Leeman as starting the drive for the statue and for public art in general.
Gina Dingo Curl said that the statue is the 25th work of public art because her late mother and Leeman started planning for it and other art in 2012.
“All of you who knew my mother know that she had a love for this community and for doing everything possible to beautify this community,” Dingo Curl said.
That included the first Italian dinner fundraiser in 2013 with 125 people attending.
When her mother died, there were already four pieces of public art in the city, Dingo Curl said
Graybeal Dunderman said the fundraising dinners started with 10 chefs, each making a family recipe for an authentic Italian meal. The dinners continued in 2016, 2017 and then a final one in 2019 that had 400 people attending and more chefs volunteering.
Dingo Curl said although her mother championed the statue, “It would be remiss to say it was just her dream.”
The speakers thanked the William Paca Lodge and Logan’s Landing for helping, as nonprofits, to organize and help with the statue.
Graybeal Dunderman, who’d been with the project since the start, said that the idea of the statue evolved since Dingo’s and Leeman’s first ideas.
“It was always a piece of public art. That was the goal. Then it became a statue,” she said.
At first, those involved considered making it out of Indiana limestone and of granite. But they liked the whiteness of the marble, and marble was more practical for upkeep, she said.
“Marble will actually wear best over time,” she added.
The grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the first Italian settlers were present at the dedication, and others still live in the city.
But the speakers stressed that it is not just a monument to the Italian-American community.
Father Adam Mauman of All Saints Catholic Church said, “We think back to our ancestors, as well as to those who will come here.”
A few feet east of the statue, on the wall of a building, public art paintings hang, and more public art is across the street.
What Kathy Dingo and Pam Leeman started as an idea eight years ago was all around the dedication. “We have now completed her wishes, her dream. And I know she is happy today,” Dingo Curl said.