Posted: 11:20am EST, April 7, 2015
Revised: 8:45am EST, April 8, 2015
CELRON – The village of Celoron plans to update or replace an unflattering Lucille Ball statue that’s received national attention, but it won’t be with the help of the original artist.
Celoron Mayor Scott Schrecengost held a media conference Tuesday morning in the village to address the recent concerns that have been raised over the statue, which has sat in the village park also bearing the comedian’s name since 2009. Primarily, many say the statue bears no likeness at all to the comedy legend and should be replaced with a more fitting tribute.
Schrecengost said that the village had wanted to address the statue, which was created by local sculptor Dave Poulin, for some time but has been unable to do so because it didn’t want to use taxpayers money.
Poulin had initially told the village it would cost an additional $8,000 to $10,000 to fix the work. Since then, the artist has said he would do it for free, but Schrecengost said he’d prefer to go with a new artist to either fix the current statue or make an entirely new one.
However, given the recent national attention the statue has received during the past week, he felt now would be the perfect time to seek donations to give the statue a facelift, adding that if enough money was raised, an entirely new statue could be commissioned.
“We’ve opened the donations up to $20,000,” Schrecengost said. “If we can achieve at least $15,000 we can have a full redo on the whole statue.”
Anyone wanting to contribute to the fundraising effort can do so by sending donations to:
Village of Celoron
PO Box 577
Celoron, NY 14720-0577
Five Star Bank
284 E. Fairmount Ave.
Lakewood NY 14750
(or any branch of Five Star Bank).
The mayor said donations can also be made on the website www.KickStarter.com with the project title “Lucille Ball Tribute Statue, Celoron NY.” The online campaign is expected to launch on Wednesday, April 8.
A LOW, COWARDLY MOVE
Schrecengost also emphasized that donations should not be sent to other fundraising efforts that may be promoted on social media, such as the anonymously created “We Love Lucy! Get Rid of This Statue” site. That site has stated they wish to have a statue built and place in nearby Jamestown.
“It is a low, cowardly move by this person or group to attack and disgrace Lucy’s hometown in order to achieve their own agenda,” the mayor said. “It is my hope that all the Lucy fans out there are aware that Lucy lived and was raised in Celoron from a young age until he became a teen. She was actually born in Jamestown; however a very small portion of her youth was spent there.”
Lucille Ball was born in Jamestown, NY and spent much of her youth growing up in the village of Celoron.
As for the statue’s origin, the mayor said it was donated as part of a real estate transaction and no one commissioned the work. He said no proofs were submitted to anyone before it was finally unveiled on Aug. 9, 2009 and everyone was shocked and agreed it wasn’t Lucy – adding that it wasn’t an issue then, but it is now.
“Former mayor [the late Jack Keeney] and myself had talked with [Poulin] about fixing the statue,” Schrecengost said. “My last conversation with him ended with him quoting between $8,000 and $10,000 to fix it, or, if we don’t like it, take it down and put it in storage.”
Schrecengost said that he has been in talks with another sculptor for at least the last six months and will most likely contact him once adequate funding has been raised in order to decide the next step in the process. He also said he will most likely create a statue committee consisting of funders and local artists to help best determine what course of action to take and to ensure a more fitting statue is the end-result.
“The statue was left up because it was in remembrance of Lucy,” Schrecengost said. “Whether or not it looked like her, ugly or not, it’s artwork.”