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IU South Bend mourns passing of Dora Natella, beloved professor and renowned artist

Apr 12, 2023

Indiana University South Bend is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Dora Natella, beloved fine arts professor emeritus and renowned sculptor.

Dora Natella, pictured with her sculpture, Euterpe’s Gift

“All of us in the Indiana University South Bend community are heartbroken by the passing of Dora Natella and extend our heartfelt condolences to her family and friends,” IU South Bend Chancellor Susan Elrod said. “Her creativity and talent inspired not only the students she taught, but the entire campus community who admire her art. We will forever be grateful for her contributions to IUSB and the art world.”

Born in Venezuela to an Italian family and raised in Italy, Dora studied figurative art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Naples, earned her MFA in sculpture at Western Michigan University, and taught at IU Bloomington. She arrived at IU South Bend in 2004 to lead the sculpture program and taught hundreds of students the fine art of sculpture as an associate professor at the Ernestine M. Raclin School of the Arts.

As a rare woman sculptor in society, Dora was internationally acclaimed as an interpreter of the human form, and particularly, the female form. She shared her gifts via exhibits and special commissioned works throughout the world. Her independence and feminism brought a unique perspective to her sculptures that continues to influence and inspire others.

The Spirit of Indiana sculpture outside of Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN

Dora leaves a legacy with the beauty and creativity of her work throughout Indiana University. Her bronze sculpture, Euterpe’s Gift, is located outside of Northside Hall on the IU South Bend campus. She also created the iconic IU athletics sculpture, The Spirit of Indiana, a 4,830-pound bronze monument which stands outside of Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN. Her legacy of inspiring and supporting future generations of artists carries on through the Dora Natella Scholarship Fund for Fine Arts, which is dedicated for full-time fine arts majors, with preferences for female students, and students with a concentration in sculpture.

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