Jerry Sandusky hadn't been on the Heister Street mural in State College since the early days of the scandal that rocked Penn State. Now, the chair left vacant in the painting is being occupied by a poet who uses her work to raise awareness about sexual and domestic violence.
Artist Michael Pilato took Sandusky out of the mural, which features hundreds of Penn State figures throughout history, in November. In his place, Pilato painted a blue ribbon which symbolizes child abuse awareness. That wasn't enough for Pilato.
"The title of the mural is 'Inspiration', so the people in the mural are inspirational people," the artist told Onward State. "With just the blue ribbon there, you still saw Sandusky."
Poet Dora McQuaid was the symbolic choice to replace the convicted sexual offender. According to her website, McQuaid "combines her passion for language and performance with her dedication to activism, using poetry, performance and speaking to raise awareness of the issues of domestic and sexual violence, and teaching writing [...] as means of empowerment and healing."
The blue ribbon isn't gone though. Pilato painted one around the neck of a Nittany Lion that's in the lower corner of the mural.
Joe Paterno remains in the center of the painting. Pilato hopes to add the late coach's wife, Sue, and son, Jay. Like all deceased figures in the painting, Paterno is depicted with a halo above his head.
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