Included in the recently wrapped “Sisters in Liberty: From Florence, Italy to New York, New York” exhibit at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is an 80-percent scale replica of Pio Fedi’s “Liberty of Poetry.”

The statue pays homage to the Italian struggle for self-determination, among other ideals, and is also said to be the inspiration for the Statue of Liberty. Organized by Kent State University and the Opera di Santa Croce, including the statue’s likeness in the exhibit served to start an international conversation around how the concept of liberty has since evolved. But in order to make an effective statement, the statue’s likeness had to be perfect. And so, Kent State sent two representatives to Florence, Italy, to scan the real thing.

Pio Fedi's Liberty of Poetry

With permission from the Vatican, Kent State neuroscientist Robert Clements and Josh Talbott, both of whom have a background in 3D imaging, traveled to the Basilica di Santa Croce to scan the statue over a three-day period using technology provided by Exact Metrology

For the job, Kent State University rented the Artec Eva scanner and Artec Studio while Exact Metrology’s Chris Lafferty, a specialist in Artec 3D's scanners, provided the university with equipment, training and support. 

The Artec Eva, provided by Artec 3D, is used for making a quick, textured and accurate 3D model of medium sized objects. It scans quickly, capturing precise measurements in high resolution, and can capture almost any type of object (including black and shiny surfaces). 

The Artec Studio software then develops accurate 3D models. It features an advanced smart mode that guides users through post-processing, automatically selecting the most effective settings for the data and producing a high precision 3D model. Texture and geometry tracking, eliminates the need for targets on objects, and the software maintains quality whether in autopilot or manual mode. Furthermore, powerful algorithms process data in seconds and Artec Studio features a full range of advanced settings. Users can scan and process data on a tablet.

“This was a great experience for us as we got to see the finished product and how Exact Metrology contributed to this,” says Lafferty. “We look forward to more collaborations like this in the future.” 

After scanning the statue, Clements and Talbott returned to Kent State to process 30 to 40 gigabytes of data and create a blueprint for a 3D printer.

Freshmade3D, a Youngstown-based start-up company, printed the replica in three sections, so the statues could be transported easily to New York. The statue was painted by a team of students at Kent State and combines sand and resin to replicate the original.

The Kent State University team
Bathymetry map of East Flower Garden Bank.
The Kent State University team (from left to right): Nate Mucha, Robert Clements, David Hassler, Joshua Talbott, JR Campbell, Tammy Honesty, Steve Sawicki, Tetta Askeland and Alex Barnhart. Not pictured is James Blank, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Kent State, who served as a major driving force behind the project.