A fundraising effort to restore two statues previously located outside of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Corp. administration building has met its goal, but district officials say they are still accepting donations to ensure the statues never go missing again.
Ethan Crough, executive director of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation, said this week that a fundraising effort to restore the bronze “Puddles” and “Frog Pond” statues had raised $23,710. That’s $65 over the school foundation’s goal of $23,645.
Crough and Janice Montgomery, the former director of the school foundation and Crough’s partner in the fundraising effort, announced the fundraising total Monday night during a meeting of the Evening Kiwanis Club of Columbus.
While Crough and Montgomery were excited to share the news of their fundraising success, the current school foundation director emphasized that efforts to raise money for the statues has not ended.
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There are always unforeseen costs that come along with such projects, he said.
Chief among the additional costs Crough is trying to cover is purchasing extra security to prevent the statues from being displaced again.
The bronze figures of a girl, “Puddles,” and a boy, “Frog Pond,” were originally commissioned by the late James Baker, former chairman of Arvin Industries. Arvin previously had its headquarters in the building at 1200 Central Ave. that is now the workplace for BCSC administration.
The statues were part of a series of sculptures located at the Arvin headquarters. Also included was “Crack the Whip,” a piece that features children playing and holding hands that is now located on the POW-MIA plaza in downtown Columbus.
“Puddles” was stolen in 2012, leaving “Frog Pond” alone for several years until the district decided to remove the statue from its spot outside of the administration building while a replacement for “Puddles” was commissioned.
Crough announced the drive to raise $23,645 in June, with part of those funds intended to go toward security measures, such stainless steel posts to hold the sculptures in the ground, cameras on the building and motion sensor lights near the statues.
“People have asked us, ‘What security measures will there be?'” Crough said. “That’s all been thought of.”
The money also will be used to pay artist Linda Petersen for the new statue she is creating to replace “Puddles,” estimated to cost about $15,645.
Petersen is still working on the new sculpture. Once she is finished, her work will have to be sent to a foundry in Indianapolis to be cast. The timeline of that process is still up in the air, so Crough said he does not have a good estimate of when the two bronze statues will make their return.
For now, the school foundation director said he is still focused on raising enough funds to ensure the statues are safely and permanently returned to the school district.
In addition to a donation from the school foundation, other donors for the statue restoration included Heritage Fund – The Community Foundation of Bartholomew County, The Reeves Foundation, Arvin Meritor, the Columbus Area Visitors Center, the Community Education Coalition and CSO Architects, Crough said.
Additionally, several individual donors contributed to the cause, with gifts ranging from $10 to $5,000, he said.
Crough credited the widespread community involvement as the reason for the success of the fundraising effort.
When the statues are finally returned to their spots outside of the Central Avenue building, the school foundation director said he thinks they will serve as another reminder of Columbus’ unique heritage of art and architecture.
“I think people will be tickled that they’re back,” Crough said. “They’re a neat part of that whole Central Avenue experience.”
To donate to the effort to restore two bronze statues of a boy and girl outside of the BCSC administration, checks can be dropped off or mailed to:
Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation
1200 Central Ave.
Columbus, IN 47201
Donations can also be made by visiting bcsc.k12.in.us/schoolfoundation and selecting the “Donate today” button at the top of the page.