Monday, June 28, 2021

Venus, If You Will . . .

Whenever the possible restoration or redesign of Seventh Street Park is discussed, the Venus fountain invariably comes up. 

The original fountain, installed in the park in 1883, was replaced by what's there now in 1975.
According to legend, the pedestal of the 1883 fountain, made of coral marble quarried on Becraft Mountain and Vermont marble, was hauled off to Gold's Scrap Yard on Columbia Street, where it was pulverized with sledgehammers. The fate of the cast zinc statue of Venus is different, but no less regrettable. Installed as a freestanding sculpture in the northwest corner of the park, on a base that still remains in the park, now holding a whiskey barrel planter, the statue was bashed to pieces by vandals in July 1978. 

Venus was repaired and returned to its spot in the park a few months later, only to be struck the next year by someone driving while intoxicated. The statue was repaired a second time and returned to the park, where it remained until 1998. It now resides, safely tucked away, in the DPW garage on North Second Street.

There have been many conversations about restoring the original Venus, but because the repairs to the statue in the past have involved filling all the cavities with cement and epoxy, restoration seems unlikely. The more likely path to getting Venus as she was back in the park would be to replicate the statue by using the original statue to make a mold and then casting a new statue. 

But there's another plan afoot for bringing Venus back to the Public Square. Last week, Shakespeare's Fulcrum, the new art gallery at 612 Warren Street, hosted a benefit to raise money and awareness for a new sculpture of Venus in the Public Square. You can read all about the event on Trixie's List: "Shakespeare's Fulcrum Benefit--Venus Statue and the New Divine Feminine Exhibition." The post includes a picture of the model for the proposed new Venus statue, which, it seems, would be executed in glass.

Curious to know if the new Venus was part of a plan for the fountain being contemplated by the Friends of the Public Square (FOPS), Gossips contacted Dorothy Heyl, one of the organizers of FOPS, and asked. Here is her response:
FOPS is aware of the interest in the Venus statue expressed by Shakespeare's Fulcrum. As I told the Council when presenting the Memorandum of Understanding, FOPS has no specific plans for the fountain and will seek extensive community input before making a recommendation and soliciting funds for that purpose.
The Common Council approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with FOPS at its regular meeting on June 15.


  1. A glass Venus - sounds refreshing !

  2. A big fat no to any other Venus statue but what is supposed to be there. We should return the park to its original design, which was beautiful. Sad that it has been let go to this extent.

  3. Why not consider a nude statue of a male figure: Adonis, Eros, Hercules or David? Or given our river town, why not Poseidon or Neptune?

    Better yet, perhaps consider including both sexes on the new fountain’s superstructure.

  4. I don't like the glass Venus. She looks like she has a pre-pubescent body except for a large chest. That is not how most women look. I think an icon of femininity should have a real womanly body, like that of the original Venus sculpture.

    Also, considering that the original Venus statue was smashed multiple times by vandals and drunk drivers, why would a new glass statue even be considered? It seems like an invitation to delinquents to smash it again.