Philadelphia

Petal the Elephant Sculpture Saved from Trash Heap

Petal the Elephant has been saved from destruction.

The 37-year-old life-size pachyderm sculpture faced an uncertain future as the building it was commissioned for — the Burlington Center Mall — was slated for redevelopment.

Petal's creator, Philadelphia-based sculptor Zenos Frudakis, led a charge to save the 2,500 lb. artwork over the past several weeks. Still, as the new year began, Petal's future remained in doubt.

On Friday, news came that the fiberglass sculpture would be saved. The Rotary of Burlington pledged $15,000 to have the statue moved, restored and installed along the Burlington City River Walk, the artist's spokesman said.

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The mall's owners donated the sculpture, which carries the formal name "The Watering Hole" and features an 11-year-old boy riding on top of Petal, to the nonprofit Art Guild New Jersey.

Petal was removed from the defunct shopping center Friday afternoon. It'll head to Chester, Pennsylvania, for restoration and then be moved to the riverwalk in the coming months.

Frudakis based the sculpture on an elephant of the same name from the Philadelphia Zoo. 

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