New home sought for 'Connecticut' sculpture at The Diamond

By Matt Butner - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) –The Richmond Metropolitan Authority will issue a Request For Proposals this week in an effort to find a new home for the sculpture depicting the Native American "Connecticut" currently located at The Diamond baseball stadium in Richmond.

The artwork was fashioned out of plastic and fiberglass in 1983 by local artist Paul DiPasquale. After a brief stop atop the Best Products Building near Ashland, Connecticut found a home at the newly constructed Diamond, home of the Richmond Braves in 1985 as their team icon.

Now that the Richmond Flying Squirrels have taken up residence at the baseball stadium, and the symbol is no longer representative of the facility's new baseball team, the RMA said a decision has been made to relocate the sculpture to another location, preferably within the greater Richmond area.

"For me, public art has a niche in the narrative of history," DiPasquale said. "I was not entirely happy to have it as a mascot, an icon for a baseball stadium, but on the other hand, people saw it there who would never have seen it. It has an opportunity to speak to American history, which is also Virginia Indian history."

An advisory group, including members of the art community, has been formed to assist the RMA with the decision on the future home of Connecticut. A number of criteria will be involved in the process including, the proposer's ability to maintain and care for the artwork, its ability to pay for the sculpture's relocation costs, the future location and the public access to the sculpture. The committee will also take into account the proposer's commitment to the sculpture's long-term sustainability.

DiPasquale hopes Connecticut will stay in Richmond.  But the RMA, the sculpture's current guardian, can't guarantee that will happen.

"Looking forward, once we issue the RFP, we're definitely going to take that into consideration, but we're also going to look at any national organizations that also may want to purchase Connecticut," said Linda McElroy, Richmond Metropolitan Authority.

But even though DiPasquale owns the copyright for his work, he doesn't get to decide where it goes. He will be asked to make a minor adjustment- a finger has gone missing sometime in the last few months.

"They need me to repair or replace it, and we don't have any idea about how that happened," said DiPasquale.

Proposals are due by Friday, Jan. 29. A final decision is scheduled by the RMA Board of Directors prior to the 2010 baseball season.

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