Paderewski Statue Dedicated at Friendship Botanic Gardens

     A new bronze bust of Polish statesman, composer, and politician Ignacy Jan Paderewski was welcomed into the Polish Garden during a dedication ceremony held May 20th at the Friendship Botanic Gardens in Michigan City, Ind.

     The project and event were sponsored by the Polish Heritage Association of Michigan City.  

     The original bust of Paderewski – which was made of terra cotta – was created by local artist Robert Wilcox and presented to the former International Friendship Gardens by the Paderewski Club of Michigan City on August 13, 1950.  Over the years, the statue’s condition deteriorated due to the elements and vandalism and was replaced in 1974; it was ultimately destroyed in a fire while in storage in the early 2000s.

     Dora Natella, Associate Professor of Sculpture at Indiana University South Bend’s E.M. Raclin School of the Arts, was selected in 2016 to work on the new sculpture upon recommendation from a local student to the organization. 

     Mark Kolasa, president of the PHAMC, served as emcee for the program, and Dr. Janusz Duzinkiewicz of Purdue University Northwest spoke on Paderewski’s legacy.  Live music of Paderewski’s works was played by Ruth Ausema on keyboard.

Polish Heritage Association of Michigan City, the people in the photo are (from left to right):
Theresa Child, Dr. Janusz Duzinkiewicz, Gene Tylisz, Marilyn Burns, Carol Tylisz, Dr. Larry Yodlowski, Jerry Sosinski, Margaret Picur, Amanda Kolasa, and Mark Kolasa.

     Special guests at the ceremony included Wendy Wilcox Kermen, daughter of Robert Wilcox (the original bust’s sculptor); John Leinweber, president of the Friendship Botanic Gardens’ Board of Directors; and Don Przybylinski, City Council At-Large, Michigan City, Ind.

     The Paderewski bust and Polish Garden were then blessed by Rev. Stephen Kosinski of Hammond, Ind. A reception featuring Polish baked goods from the Baker’s Dozen in South Bend (Ind.) was held in the Symphony Garden following the program.  


Sue Baxter