Photo of sculpture, Unity, part of the Art Around the Corner loaner program that was removed from its exhibit plinth during an alleged theft, St. George, Utah, date unspecified | Photo courtesy of Michelle Graves, St. George News
ST. GEORGE – On September 4, a sculpture from the Art Around the Corner loan program valued at $ 5,500 was removed from its pedestal and taken away.
Michelle Graves, deputy director of arts and events for the city of St. George, said the sculpture was later retrieved by city park staff from the bushes, and they believed the miners were responsible for it.
The nonprofit Art Around the Corner is an organization that works in partnership with the City of St. George to improve and beautify the area by introducing art sculptures by various artists which are then on display throughout the year around St. George.
Art is loaned and sold to the public. Graves said the city is budgeting money to purchase some of the sculptures, which helps to permanently improve parks and other areas of the city, including hospital facilities. and the airport.
Graves said the city has been in partnership with the organization since 2004 and that efforts have gone largely without incident until this year.
Both the sculpture and the pedestal were damaged during Friday’s flight, she said, adding that it appeared the perpetrators attempted to remove the information plaque from the pedestal as well.
Graves said that this year, in addition to the September 4 flight, several of the sculptures were damaged.
“It’s not cool, ”she said. “The beautification of our parks is for the citizen who pays taxes.”
Graves said the city would much rather spend taxpayers’ money improving and beautifying the city’s spaces than repairing the damage.
“We won’t be able to keep the parks as well maintained as they were if we just replace the damage,” she said.
One of the things Graves pointed out about the damage to art in particular is that these pieces are on loan from artists across the country. It’s a privilege to have in the community, she said, but that privilege will only last if artists feel it’s a safe place to send their work.
Art Around the Corner President Marianne Hamilton made the following statement:
The generosity of talented artists who allow their work to be exhibited in St. George each year is a huge gift to our entire community. Their beautiful sculptures enhance our quality of life and unite us to enjoy world-class art. On behalf of the entire Art Around the Corner board of directors, I hope the community will be vigilant and watch for any signs that the city’s outdoor sculpture gallery has been slandered in any way. or and report any suspicious activity. Our artists and their works deserve our utmost respect and care.
Graves was unsure why this year had seen a sudden increase in vandalism, as the city was mostly blessed with low incidences of vandalism and graffiti.
She speculated that this could be due to the heightened frustrations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, but that it could also simply be a side effect of the city’s growth.
The city pleads with citizens to keep a vigilant eye and Graves called on parents and educators to speak to children about the malicious and inappropriate act of vandalism and to understand that the arts, parks and recreation are the reward for every citizen. paying taxes.
“It is our privilege to keep St. George City safe, clean and beautiful.”
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