Public art becoming vandal magnet

July 24, 2006 at 5:06 PM

EVANSTON, Ill., July 24 (UPI) -- Members of the art community in Evanston, IIl., are upset by two attacks on outdoor public art exhibits in the suburb north of Chicago.

A group of fiberglass, sky-blue sculptures resembling fat fingers -- "Calm Before The Storm," by Micki LeMieux -- were knocked over by vandals July 12. Two more of the Salvador Dali-esque figures were upended on July 17.

City officials said the $10,000 art works would be replaced, but the cost of repairing or replacing damaged outdoor art could mean there will be less of it in the future.

"When you put things in the public way, it's at risk of graffiti to vandalism to outright theft," Gregory Knight, deputy commission for visual arts in Chicago, told the Chicago Tribune Monday. "They are not typically in guarded places."

However, curators say normal wear and tear from people touching artwork is a bigger problem than random acts of vandalism.

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