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This bronze figure of the Greek goddess Persephone stands on a raised platform in the center of an octagonal pool. Her right hand is elevated, holding a torch. The figure is draped from the waist down and has a draped headdress flowing down the back of the sculpture. A plaque on the front of the statue reads: “In Ancient Greek Mythology, She, as the daughter of Zeus, and Demeter, was worshipped as the goddess of vegetation. Returning each spring from the realm of Hades to herald the season of growth and in winter disappearing to pass her time like the seed under the earth.”
The torch in the figure’s hand indicates that she is on her way up from the dark underworld to the light of the world, and indicates a forthcoming season of spring and hope. The symbolism is common to that of the Eleusinian Mysteries, a cult of Demeter and Persephone that was a highly secretive religious ritual often enacted by women, possibly as a coming-of-age rite for young girls or an exploration of the concept of eternal life. The figure also holds a set of ropes with bells on the end, which could refer to another element of the ritual.
Another plaque nearby states that the pond is called Persephone Pond and was restored in 2014 as a gift from the class of 2012 and Butler University.
The sculpture was executed in Paris about 1840 by the French artist Armand Toussaint (1806 – 1862). It was a gift of James Irving Holcomb in 1850.
Together, We CAN!
This mural was painted as part of the 2017 Indy Do Day, a city-wide effort for neighbors to come together to improve their community. The mural was painted by members of the Midtown Anchor Coalition, which includes the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association, Butler University, Christian Theological Seminary, Citizen’s Energy Group, Crown Hill Cemetery, the International School of Indiana, Midtown Indianapolis Inc., and Newfields.
The title of the mural is based on a quote by Helen Keller, “We live by each other and for each other. Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” The theme refers to three virtues which are held to be the cornerstones of personal character: responsibility, resilience, and respect. Known as “The Three Rs,” in education they are widely acknowledged as traits that enable successful learning.
James Whitcomb Riley Elementary School (IPS School #43) is located within the Butler-Tarkington neighborhood and has a strong partnership with the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood Association. Among its alumni is the famed American novelist, Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
The artist, Christi Ziebarth, lives in Warsaw, IN. Her education as a graphic designer informs the striking composition. She designed the mural so that the volunteers who painted it could select the colors themselves, with the only rule that adjacent shapes had to be different colors. Her inspirations for the design include stained glass, ethnic batik fabrics, and mosaics.
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