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JoePa statue sculptor reacts to news

By Catherine Hawley, Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published On: Jul 22 2012 05:45:29 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 23 2012 06:08:24 AM CDT

JoePa sculpture creator reacts

READING, Pa. -

The statue had stood in front of Beaver Stadium for more than a decade. On Sunday night, the man from Berks County who created the famed sculpture weighed in on its removal.

"All these emotions surged up," explained Angelo DiMaria. "I got a little bit emotional and it hurts."

DiMaria says it was difficult when he learned the statue he created had been taken down.

"What I put into the statue, all the love and passion and energy, that stays in my soul, that is untouchable."

The 7 foot, 900-pound piece of art stood in a place of honor at PSU for 11 years.

DiMaria was commissioned to create the bronze cast monument to honor Joe Paterno's football achievements. Now he says he feels like a mediator as the sculpture's fate is decided.

"No one side is completely right and no one side is completely wrong. Emotions are emotions," said DiMaria.

It's those emotions that he hopes are left out so no decision is rushed or rash.

"I hope that they do the right thing with it, to put it in storage, put it away, don't give it to anybody, don't destroy it."

In recent weeks, the monument morphed into a shameful bronze symbol after an independent investigation said Paterno covered up sex abuse at the hands of Jerry Sandusky.

DiMaria never imagined his work would leave such a thorny legacy. And while he's conflicted about the statue's future, he says he would like to see a compromise.

"I think the wisest thing to do I guess is to put it away for a while and let time tell," said DiMaria. "How will everybody feel about the statue six months or a year or five years down the road."

He says his heart goes out to the victims but he also knows what Paterno meant to the community and all the things he did for the university before the scandal erupted.

Although he never met Paterno in person, the artist says people should remember Joe Pa at his best forever frozen in bronze.