February 21, 2016
Yesid Gomez, one of the sculptors of the Joe Paterno statue that was removed in 2012 shortly after the Penn State football coach's death, says he has tried over and over again to get the university to tell him where his artwork is located.
That effort has produced no results, according to Gomez, so he and another one of the artists behind the original bust — Wilfer Buitrago — are working on a replacement at a "secret" location.
“Since they are not responding to our request and we are not getting the original art work we have decide (sic) to bring the image of the beloved coach and friend back again," Gomez said in a Facebook post Friday.
The duo is working on the new statue at an undisclosed spot in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, according to the post, and the project is already well underway.
Paterno's statue in front of Beaver Stadium was taken away when a sexual abuse scandal rocked the university. Jerry Sandusky, a former coach under Paterno, was convicted on charges he molested several boys.
The new statue will show Paterno holding a clenched fist instead of holding up his index finger like the original to stand as a "symbol of unity and peace," the artists say.
As Philly.com notes, Gomez and Buitrago did the casting work for the statue which was sculpted by artist Angelo DiMaria. DiMaria holds the copyright to the original and there is no indication the two have sought his permission to construct a new bust, according to the website.
University officials have kept the original statue at a hidden location since removing it.
Gomez and Buitrago are actually making two replica statues, costing $50,000 each. One will travel the state and end up in front of Beaver Stadium — the spot of the original — and the other is being donated to the Paterno family.