ST. GEORGE — In the face of additional vandalism involving sculptures on display around downtown St. George, Art Around the Corner board members and city officials are looking at increased security measures to protect the art.
After a string of vandalism in early June, the foundation’s board has organized time for each member to take rounds to check on the pieces. Members of the community have also come forward to volunteer their time.
Last week, one of the community volunteers, Sue Schmidt, stumbled upon a number of nameplates that had been tampered with or completely removed, Art Around the Corner Foundation Chair Marianne Hamilton said.
Schmidt told Hamilton that she often walks around with her grandchildren to look at the art. She volunteered her time in order to help maintain the art and instruct her grandchildren on the importance of respecting art.
“I love the idea that she’s helping to grow a whole new generation of art consumers and appreciators,” Hamilton said.
Schmidt also discovered that another sculpture, a metal flower called “Daydream,” had been compromised — one of the stainless steel petals was lying on the ground near the sculpture.
Since the recent incidents of vandalism, Hamilton has alerted the city and the artists. The foundation will have to pay to replace the nameplates, which are engraved with the artist’s name, the title of the piece and its price.
Dan Toone, the artist behind the sculpture, is traveling to St. George to repair the piece in the next few weeks. The art is loaned to Art Around the Corner for one year by the artists at no cost.
“This artwork is a gift to the whole city, it really is,” Hamilton said. “We all need to respect the artwork and especially the artists who loan that to us for a year out of the goodness of their hearts.”
Although the art might sell during its year on display, it doesn’t always happen, and the program aims to return the pieces to the artists intact.
According to Hamilton, the people vandalizing or disrespecting the art are in the minority, and most of the residents of St. George are appreciative of and treat the artwork with care. She said she believes these are isolated incidents of carelessness.
Hamilton said the city is looking at a variety of options that will ensure the safety of the artwork without compromising already-existing budgets.
Since the last rash of incidents, Hamilton said the foundation and the city are looking into installing security cameras near the art. The foundation is currently researching the best options, trying to find the best avenue. If cameras are installed, Hamilton said the foundation will also post signs to notify visitors.
“People just need to know that they just can’t do this,” she said. “We’re unfortunately going to have to track who’s visiting downtown, and if we notice things happening, we’re going to have to take more aggressive action, unfortunately.”
Anyone with information connected to the vandalism of Art Around the Corner pieces is asked to email [email protected].
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