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Reward Offered for Information on 'Attic Trophy' Vandalism

Statue of a girl playing with a hula hoop was tipped over, breaking her ankle.

CrimeStoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to the arrest of those responsible for vandalizing a Memorial Park sculpture.

The sculpture, called "Attic Trophy," depicts a young girl playing with a hula hoop. It was discovered lying on the ground at its installation site in Memorial Park Tuesday morning. The sculpture was apparently pushed over, resulting in a deep fracture visible on the girl's left ankle, police said.

The Department of Public Works has placed guard rails around the sculpture and the Chatham Borough Public Arts Council is looking into whether repairs can be made onsite. Otherwise, it will be transported to a repair facility in Hamilton.

Borough Mayor Nelson Vaughan said he was "very, very disappointed" to learn of the vandalism. “She’s become part of our community over the last two years.  She’s visible and well-loved by residents,” Vaughan said.

Jen Kaplan, of the Public Arts Council, said she does not believe the incident will affect the council's negotiations to keep the sculpture with California-based The Sculpture Foundation, who loaned "Attic Trophy" and two other sculptures to the borough.

Kaplan said the current contract for the three sculptures ends in May, but the council hopes to sign another loan agreement soon. "We weren't ready to give them back," Kaplan said, adding that the foundation has "been very understanding of our situation here."

According to a statement released by the borough, Paula Stoeke, the director of The Sculpture Foundation, called vandalism part of the "risk" entailed in public art.

"It is unfortunate, but also rare, that vandalism occurs," she said. "My hope is that even the peers of the people who did this will judge the act harshly as they are spoiling something for the whole community. That said, we at the Foundation understand that this is a singular instance, and we look forward to working with the Borough of Chatham in the future."

Seward Johnson, the sculptor of "Attic Trophy," said he felt that the sculptures should remain on display for the public's enjoyment. "The good outweighs the bad," Johnson said.

Johnson is also the sculptor of "The Search," also on display in Memorial Park, depicting an elderly woman searching in her purse for her glasses, which rest on top of her head.

A representative from Crime Stoppers was not immediately available for comment, but Vaughan and Kaplan said the reward for any information leading to an arrest of the vandals is $1,000.

"Attic Trophy" was first installed in 2009, thanks to a grant from Investor's Savings Bank.

LoveChatham March 17, 2011 at 01:53 PM
Does anyone else think that this statue is a complete eye sore?
Ed March 18, 2011 at 01:54 AM
I thought it looked great where it was. LoveChatham, you could do better ?
Ron Swanson March 18, 2011 at 02:51 PM
I tend to agree - art can be "clutter" when not displayed properly, and I don't think this piece was displayed in the right place. To be honest, the statue creeps me out, especially when walking past it at night. That being said, vandalism should not be tolerated, and what happened to the statue was very unfortunate. Whoever is responsible should pay for the damage.
L. Michel April 08, 2011 at 01:59 PM
Just the fact that this statue can creep someone out, walking past it at night attests to what Johnson was trying to achieve with his bronze sculptures. He wanted to trick people into thinking they were real and he created what he called "interactive artwork". Just like it creep's Rt24Guy out, to see her out at night, it makes me cringe to see her down on the ground like a crime scene!
John Smith May 09, 2011 at 02:37 PM
Finding out that this statue was vandalized was the best news i've heard in awhile. The statue is pointless and I wish it could have been damaged sooner. If I knew who it was I would've paid them to destroy it completely. It's a joke that they're giving a 1,000 reward to whoever turns the person in. It was obviously just some drunk kids trying to have a good time. If the statue is repaired I hope they do it again!
steve jones June 06, 2011 at 01:24 AM
John, I too despise the statue, one of the ugliest things I have ever seen in my entire life.
steve jones June 06, 2011 at 01:29 AM
I would compare it to mud, being that they are both ugly and pointless. In fact, I believe that if somebody were to offer to take the statue in exchange for nothing, the town should do it. It is truly an eyesore, and it ruins the library. When I first laid eyes on it, I shook my fist at the heavens and wailed with displeasure.
bill w August 03, 2011 at 11:01 PM
glad to here it. the statue is a piece of crap, and I'm jealous of the heroes that destroyed it, i wish i had thought of the idea earlier. when possible i plan to steal the statue, only to bring it to hawaii and throw it in the volcano. It be like lord of the rings, but better
citizen December 29, 2012 at 01:06 AM
We need public art in Chatham. This is not art.
Alice Jameson December 29, 2012 at 02:08 AM
God it’s ugly, just like something you’d see at the Port Authority Bus Terminal.

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