MMI Preparatory School graduate Salvadore DeFazio ‘67 presented his latest sculpture to the school during Alumni Weekend. The sculpture honors the Class of 1967 as classmates prepare to celebrate their 50th reunion with a gathering in October. The statue was unveiled during a ceremony Saturday in the Mildred Culp Kahler Courtyard at MMI.
“I have artwork all over the world and felt it was time to do something for my alma mater,” DeFazio said. “It’s something I wanted to do for MMI because, obviously, I developed my earliest training at the school.”
DeFazio explained that the sculpture has dual titles that combine the concepts of art and mathematics. In an artistic sense, the sculpture is known as Apollo’s Harp and represents Apollo, the Greek God of the sun. On the mathematics side, the sculpture carries the title of Plotting the Gravitational Waves of the Solar System and honors MMI’s history as the Mining and Mechanical Institute.
DeFazio began studying visual arts at an early age by taking private lessons as a child. His artwork is included in many public, private and religious collections throughout the United States. When Pope Francis visited the United States House of Representatives in 2016, Congressman Lou Barletta presented him with one of DeFazio’s works, which is now a part of the Vatican Collection.
His work can also be found at St. John the Divine Cathedral Museum in New York City, the Holocaust Library and Rifkin Resource Center at the Jewish Community Center in Wilkes-Barre, the campus of Penn State Hazleton, Annunciation Parish at St. Gabriel’s Church and Most Precious Blood Church in Hazleton.
His international work includes the Dawn of Peace mural, which was a part of the East Side Gallery in Berlin, Germany. He was one of 104 international artists selected to transform the Berlin Wall into the kilometer-long gallery. His artwork has also appeared in Lithuania, Poland and Russia.
DeFazio painted a series of large field murals, including: Freedom and Peace, which was located at Penn State Hazleton and dedicated to the veterans of World War II on the 45th anniversary of the end of the war; Peace on Earth, which was painted on the 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ voyage to America on Tussey Mountain Ski Resort, which overlooks Boalsburg and is the site of Columbus’ private chapel; and A Celebration of Life, which was located at the Hazleton Municipal Airport and was painted to raise awareness to the epidemic of suicides. It was recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest painting in 1998.