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SHERIDAN — A piece of artwork loaned to the city for display downtown appears to have been vandalized or accidentally disfigured. The abstract piece by Hillary Jones titled, “Growth and Life Where There Appear to be None,” was reported to be damaged Tuesday afternoon.
The statue, situated at the intersection of Main and Dow streets, features three iron tree branches growing out of a red colored base. Among the branches is a white irregularly shaped stone suspended half way up the branches.
Sheridan Police Lt. Chris Dahmke said a friend of the artist went to check on the piece and noticed one of the tree limbs was broken and the stone set among the branches was damaged.
Coordinator for the Sheridan Public Arts Committee Beth Holsinger said she plans to consult the board to determine what should be done with the sculpture. She said defacement of downtown art is a relatively rare occurrence, as there have only been two other incidents of downtown statues being damaged. Both of those incidents, she said, were accidents.
“Our artists know when they give us their work that it’s going out in the public,” Holsinger said, adding that the city and art committee set up agreements with artists who display their work downtown that state that the entities are not responsible for damage to the pieces.
Holsinger said the city pays artists an honorarium fee to have sculptures transported and set up in town, usually for one year. During that time, loaned pieces are advertised for sale.
“It’s a great, inexpensive way to decorate your downtown,” Holsinger said, noting the city has opted to purchase several sculptures after their one-year loan period expired.
It is not yet determined whether the damage to the structure on Main and Dow streets was intentional vandalism or negligent, accidental damage. The loaned piece was advertised for sale at $1,900.