Remembering the life of Dora Natella

Dora Natella, professor emeritus of fine arts and sculptor of many art installations at IU South Bend, passed away at age 66 on April 11 following a motor vehicle crash.

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By: Mira Costello


Dora Natella, professor emeritus of fine arts and sculptor of many art installations at IU South Bend, passed away at age 66 on April 11 following a motor vehicle crash. 

In addition to her near 20-year teaching career at IU South Bend, Natella created various statues still present on our campus, including Euterpe’s Gift and Gaia, both outside of Northside Hall. 

To remember Natella, The Preface has compiled memories of her from the IU South Bend community.

“While I never had Dora as a professor, I truly looked up to her as a mentor, artist and person. I’ll always remember the time we sat for hours and talked for an article I wrote for ‘Aspire.’ I learned so much about her work, art and how lucky women are to be in the art industry these days. Her work will always be something I look up to. It’s so surreal to see her statue at IU Memorial Stadium in Bloomington. I know her legacy will always be remembered on campus and by the lives she touched during her time teaching. She’ll truly be so missed.”

  • Kate Luce, alumna

“When the Addicott-Joshi Performance Hall was under construction, I worked with our campus Facilities staff and the university architects to consider how we might elevate the immediate surroundings of the hall so that those attending concerts or lectures in this revitalized space, especially our own students, might approach the hall already experiencing some aesthetic pleasure. Serving as chancellor at the time, I thought immediately of Professor Natella, who already had contributed a Titan statue to our campus environment, one of the Titan goddess, Gaia, the earth. 

“I met with Professor Natella several times, viewing sketches and a maquette of the subject I had requested her to pursue, Euterpe, the muse of Music, part of the large pantheon of Greek gods known as the Titans. Dora produced beautiful work, draping the female form in an ecstatic pose of music triumphant. She chose an exquisite color scheme, reminding us of the ancient practice of painting statues, challenging some conceptions that statues should be only monochromatic. 

“Throughout the creative process, Professor Natella shared with me many times stories of the challenges of being a woman in an art form dominated by men. Dora was quietly brave, fiercely determined, thoughtful, generous, and intelligent. She continued to develop new work that she exhibited in shows and for public commissions throughout Indiana, Michigan and Illinois. It was a joy to work with her and to see her work in many public places, including right here at IU South Bend. May her classical, joyful and feminist work last for ages.”

  • Terry L. Allison, professor of English

“She was a wonderful woman, and a phenomenal, fantastic artist. She will be sorely missed. Her loss is going to be great to not just the school community, but to the greater community as well. We’re all devastated by it.”

  • Marvin Curtis, former Raclin School of the Arts dean, as quoted in the South Bend Tribune

If you have a memory of Natella you would like to share, we welcome you to send your submission to so that we may include it in the online version of this article. 

A memorial service and reception for Natella will be held on May 1 at 4 p.m. at the Joshi Performance Hall in Northside. If you are interested in attending, you may RSVP by emailing or calling 574-520-4170. The service will also stream on Facebook for those who cannot travel to attend. 

1 comments on “Remembering the life of Dora Natella”

  1. I felt right there with her in her fight for life. While supporting and praying for her she gave me strength. Rest in peace, rest in peace.

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