italian cultural garden to celebrate installation of new dante statue in june

After three years of fundraising -- and a generous last-minute gift from an anonymous donor -- a bronze statue of Dante Alighieri is now being crafted at Studio Foundry in Cleveland. It will be installed in the Italian Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park in June.

"I view this as a Cleveland project," says Joyce Mariani, Executive Director of the Italian Cultural Gardens Foundation, who championed the project after discovering unfinished plans for the Italian Garden that included the Dante sculpture. "It brings back an urban space, and reflects the greatness of what Italy has given the world. We're all beneficiaries of what the Italians have done."

The statue, which costs $135,000, was designed by Italian sculptor Sandro Bonaiuto, who was originally born in Cleveland. It presents Dante in his 30s, around the time he wrote the Divine Comedy.

In the statue, Dante gazes out from where he sits in a Renaissance chair with the Divine Comedy in one hand and a pen in the other. The base of the statue portrays heaven, hell and purgatory, and a scroll located beside the statue includes the epic poem's most famous canto in Italian and English.

The Dante statue will be dedicated on June 29th, and Mariani will host Opera in the Garden, a free performance, on Sunday, July 29th beginning at 6 pm.

Source: Joyce Mariani
Writer: Lee Chilcote
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