Molly statue to be unveiled on Wednesday, June 7
Sculptor Nilda Comas has created a marble statue of the beloved canine Molly, the ambassador for the Marion County Animal Abuser Registry.
A small portion of the new marble statue of Molly is shown. Submitted photo.
Nilda Comas, an award-winning sculptor who recently was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame, spent hundreds of hours creating a magnificent white marble statue of Molly, the ambassador of the Marion County Animal Abuser Registry. The work of art will be unveiled during a ceremony beginning at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 7, at the city of Ocala’s Citizen Service Center at 201 SE 3rd St., near the Downtown Market.
While she was working on the statue at her studio in Pietrasanta, Italy, Comas, who also has a studio in Fort Lauderdale, could look out upon the Apuan Alps mountain range that extends between the Garfagnana, Versilia and Massa Carrara areas. The mountains are the home of Carrara marble, which has been transformed into art masterpieces by sculptors such as Michelangelo.
Works by Comas have been featured in solo and group exhibitions in numerous museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad. She recently was chosen by the Florida Council on Arts and Culture to create a statue of Mary McLeod Bethune for the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol in Washington, D.C.
Comas is a frequent visitor to Ocala, where her brother Tito Comas, an artist and businessman, has lived for years. Nilda learned the story of Molly, a snow white mixed-breed canine who survived being beaten and stabbed in 2014. Her accused attacker spent time in prison and Molly became the ambassador of the Marion County Animal Abuser Registry, also known as Molly’s Law. After Lilly Baron, president of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) of Ocala, and Molly’s longtime human companion, found out about Nilda, a plan formed to commission a sculpture of Molly.
“Lilly told me what she was thinking about, and I got to meet Molly, who steals your heart,” Comas recalls. “I saw Molly several times and I accepted the commission. I measured her, took lots of pictures, and played with her. She would come and sit really close to me. She would look up and that was really nice, as I could see her eyes and her expression.”
“When Nilda met Molly, she loved her and what she represented,” Baron offers. “That’s what grabbed her, what she represented.”
An anonymous sponsor backed the commission and Comas announced in October 2021 in Ocala that she would be creating the sculpture of Molly.
Molly died of cancer, peacefully at home with Baron, on Feb. 22nd.
Comas said her studio in Italy was designed for marble working.
“I can see the marble quarries up in the mountains and it’s so beautiful and so inspiring. I see Michelangelo’s three caves and this piece of marble, Molly’s block, came from one of Michelangelo’s caves,” she said with pride. “I’m very privileged to work on such beautiful marble and do a sculpture of Molly since she’s such a legacy. She has the marks where she was injured and it’s a very good likeness, especially being white marble. Her life became very important, and the sculpture is going to be forever, so she definitely is going to have a lot of impact.”
Baron spent some time in Tallahassee in recent weeks, campaigning to promote a statewide animal abuser registry.
“There are only eight or 10 counties that have an animal abuser registry, and those are different versions. So, someone who is on it can just hop over the line and go to another county and keep doing what they do,” she said. “That’s why it’s so important that we have a statewide registry. I’ll never stop until we do. For Molly.”
To learn more about Nilda Comas, go to nildacomas.com
To view the “Molly’s Law Documentary,” go to spcaofocala.org
The county’s animal abuser registry is accessible at marioncountyfl.org/aar