SUNY New Paltz artist volunteers to repair Rosendale rhino statue in memory of Judy Sigunick
Art Business

SUNY New Paltz artist volunteers to repair Rosendale rhino statue in memory of Judy Sigunick

(Photo by Lauren Thomas) Somewhat abashedly, Rosendale town councilman Ernest Klepeis admits that, when he was too young to know any better, he was among the many kids using the Youth Center playground who succumbed to the temptation to climb up on Pumba’s back. Pumba, for those who don’t know, is the concrete rhinoceros sculpture that stands between the shuffleboard court and the porta-potties, behind the Rosendale Recreation Center. He was sculpted by the Cragsmoor-based artist Judy Sigunick in 1997, and given his nickname by Tillson resident Sam Keller. Pumba’s belly once housed a kiln, which Sigunick used to fire ceramic tiles designed by children in the town’s Youth Program and later installed inside the Youth Center itself. The rhino statue is life-sized, close to six feet tall at the rump and about double that in length. But he’s not quite as sturdy as he looks. They’re not supposed to, but children have been climbing on him since soon after he was first installed, the kiln cooled down and closed off. “That’s a big no-no, insurancewise,” notes Klepeis. And all that wear-and-tear over many years has taken a toll. A “Keep Off” sign was erected a bit too late […]

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