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Posted on: February 16, 2021

City Offers Reward In Art Vandalism Incidents

Germination III by Nathan Johansen

Three art installations on Center Street were damaged by vandals late Wednesday evening, Feb. 10, or early Thursday morning, Feb. 11, Moab City Manager Joel Linares said Thursday morninHelen the Heron by Serena Supleeg. Another art installation in the same area was discovered damaged on Friday, Feb. 5 and appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. At this time it is unknown if the two separate incidents are connected.

 “The City of Moab is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved in the incidents,” Linares said. On Feb. 16, a private donor approached the City with an offer to double any reward amount, according to Linares. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Moab City Police Department at 435-259-8938.

 The sculptures were installed throughout the downtown Moab area in 2019 as part of an ongoing collaboration between the City’s Moab Arts and Recreation Center and Moab ArtTrails, a local nonprofit group founded by Michael Ford Dunton and Christy Williams Dunton. 

 “The threat of damage, accidental or by vandalism, is an inherent concern with public art but it is shocking and deeply saddening when it happens at this scale and done so wantonly,” Michael Ford Dunton, the organization’s executive director, said. “Moab ArTTrails is a not-for-profit organization formed to bring more publicWapiti by Christopher Coleman art to our community. Since we started in 2015 we have received constant positive feedback, encouragement and appreciation for the beauty the sculptures have added to the town. Our immediate concern is for the damaged work and the artists affected by this senselessness.”

 The three sculptures damaged Feb. 10 or Feb. 11 --  "Wapiti" by Christopher Coleman, "Germination III by Nathan Johansen, and "Helen the Heron" by Serena Supplee -- have a total value of $21,600, and the sculpture damaged on Feb. 5 -- "Astrologic" by Joe Burleigh -- is valued at $6,750, Dunton said.

 Moab Arts and Recreation Center Director Liz Holland described the vandalism as “completely heartbreaking to have this happen to such wonderful works of art.,” and added that it makes it more difficult for groups like Moab ArtTrails to bring art opportunities to the community.

  “I would just like to ask people to please be respectful so the rest of our community can continue to enjoy the amazing contribution this exhibition brings to our town," she said.

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