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Bronze replica of concrete statue lowered by crane today in Courthouse

A bronze replica of the sculpture “Compassion,” depicting an adult and child embracing, was installed this morning (Tuesday) in Courthouse along Wilson Blvd.

The new replica replaces the original concrete sculpture that had been a fixture in the median along Wilson Boulevard, near Ireland’s Four Courts, for nearly six decades.

Donated to Arlington County in 1969, “Compassion” was deemed weathered beyond repair earlier this year, due to age and exposure to the elements. It sustained even more damage while it was removed from the median last August and was ultimately destroyed as part of the decommissioning process.

Before its removal, however, Colin Poole — the grandson and apprentice of the sculpture’s creator, England-born Una Hanbury — digitally scanned the original and created a bronze replica.

Poole was able to recreate the “missing details” of the sculpture by drawing on photographs and his grandmother’s sketches, according to a press release.

“Una Hanbury was my grandmother, mentor and hero,” Poole said in the release. “Some of my earliest memories are of her studio… My first monumental bronze was with a collaboration with her and now, many decades later, we collaborate once again.”

Greystar Real Estate Partners, the developer responsible for the two new apartment buildings adjacent to the sculpture, fully funded the relocation of the bronze statue, according to Arlington Public Art Director Angela Adams.

A crane carefully lowered the sculpture onto a newly constructed median on Tuesday morning, close to its original location.

“Greystar paid for the entire commission,” Adams told ARlnow.

“Per the site plan agreement for the Landmark project, the developer was obligated to determine how to preserve the original ‘Compassion’ sculpture since they were needing to rework the traffic median where it sat as part of their project,” she continued.

Although the original concrete statue was not officially a part of the the county’s public art collection, plans are underway to include the bronze replica among its roughly 70 permanent public art projects in Arlington, says Adams.

“Those negotiations are ongoing,” Adams said.

She also noted that a formal dedication of the sculpture, along with the larger plaza and surrounding buildings, is scheduled for sometime in 2024.

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