A bronze statue in a prominent Edina municipal park was recently vandalized, the fourth such incident in the city in the past few months, officials said Wednesday.
One of six bolted-down figurines on the piece “Look and You Will Find It”on the Edina Promenade was pried off its platform between Nov. 18 and Nov. 20, the city said. It is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension, arrest and conviction of the person or people to blame for the damage, estimated to be at $2,000.
Of the three other pieces of public art vandalized of late, one is in the 50th and France retail district and the others are on the Edina Promenade, the sculpture-lined bike and pedestrian trail just east of France Avenue S. in the Southdale area that winds from Centennial Lakes to the Galleria.
“These senseless acts do not represent the residents of Edina and our growing reputation as a city known for its public art,” said Barbara La Valleur, who leads the Edina Public Art Committee. “Vandalizing public art affects the livelihood of the artists. We’re hoping the missing piece of this statue will be returned.”
The “Look and You Will Find It” sculpture was displayed on a metal platform. The artwork itself weighs 80 pounds and stands slightly more than 2 feet tall. Its creator is Kate Christopher, whose studio is in her Mahtomedi home.
The piece was put into storage soon after the damage was discovered, and Christopher said she has since reclaimed it with the intention of restoring it to its original form, a task that she said will take time and money. The piece is insured but with a deductible, she said.
“Sad, just sad” is how Christopher said she took the news of the vandalism. “It’s just silly that someone would come and cut a sculpture apart.”
The stolen figurine was in the middle and looking up among the five others, their heads bowed. The piece previously had been displayed outdoors in Mankato, Minn.
Christopher said she doubts the theft was inspired by a desire to sell the figurine for scrap, given that “it would seem hard to get to the middle guy. I’m curious if someone stole it to have it, or someone stole it as just [an act] of meanness.”
In the other incidents:
Security personnel in June at 50th and France caught a person unscrewing the bolts that attached the glass-magnifying portion of the bronze sculpture “Look Closer.” The screws were replaced with ones that lock.
Someone in August climbed on the piece “Oxymoron” at the Promenade and bent some of its swinging arms. Also, some bolts attaching the arms were removed. The piece was repaired at a cost of about $500.
Someone in September tipped upside down the bronze “Leap Frog” sculpture on the Promenade. It was scratched but required no repairs.
Counting the temporarily absent “Look and You Will Find It,” there are 11 pieces on the Promenade, three permanent and eight rotating. There also is rotating public art in the city at 50th and France and Grandview Square Park.
Even though surveillance cameras are growing in use to monitor public spaces, there is none to assist in this investigation, city spokeswoman Jennifer Bennerotte said.
Edina Art Center manager Michael Frey and La Valleur walked the Promenade this summer with a crime-prevention specialist to review security in the expansive area, which is patrolled regularly by police on bicycles, said Kaylin Martin, another city spokeswoman. Enhancements to the Promenade are in the works, she said, and they include additional lighting.
Anyone with information about this or the other vandalism in the park is asked to call police at 952-826-1600.
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