$20k in sculptures stolen from Little Rock park - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

$20k in sculptures stolen from Little Rock park

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Picture by Sculpture at the River Market Picture by Sculpture at the River Market

LITTLE ROCK (KATV) - Three years ago, city leaders broke ground on a new sculpture garden in the River Market district. It is suppose to be a permanent home for works of art, but a groundskeeper noticed several sculptures were missing, forced off their platform.

The sculptures total value is about $20,000 dollars. The works of art could be in someone's home right now or sold to a scrap yard.

The Vogel Schwartz Sculpture Garden is located on the north side of the Peabody Hotel. A serene spot overlooking the Arkansas River where you can forget the hustle and bustle of downtown that is just yards away.

On Robert Johnson's first stroll down the walkways, he noticed one bronze sculpture missing, two others vandalized. "It's really sad. We see people doing great things for the community like these sculptures here, but people want to come and ruin opportunities for others to come and enjoy downtown."

The garden is made possible through support of the Vogel Schwartz Foundation, volunteers, donors and maintained by Little Rock Parks and Recreation.

Dr. Dean Kumpuris says, "Every Saturday I'm out there weeding, planting and cleaning."

The Sculpture Garden is the vision of City Director Dean Kumpuris. It is a memorial for his daughter, a sanctuary for visitors. Instead of anger, he is looking on the bright side. "It will hopefully let people get to know what a great asset we have. It is terrible that people do things that are destructive and hurts something that makes our city better. That's the only way you can look at it."

In all, three pieces of art were damaged. Dr. Kumpuris concludes, "Public art is an important thing for this city. When you put fine pieces of art outside, you stand the chance of these sorts of things occurring."

Little Rock Police suspect the thieves will try and sell the bronze sculptures to a scrap yard. The groundskeeper discovered the sculpture damage on Friday. Investigators don't have a suspect at this time. The sculptures were insured and the city plans to put in more cameras to monitor the area, to make it safer for everyone.

If you have any information you are asked to call Little Rock Police.

 

The three pieces are described as followed:

"Conversation with Myself," (pictured) is a two-part piece. The smaller portion is a two-feet tall long-legged man looking up. It was forcefully removed by apparently working it back and forth until the metal broke at the ankle.

"Birds of Happiness," is a three feet tall piece that depicts two storks in flight. It was likely removed by a grinder and the base that was still in place.

"Uptown Saturday Night," is foot tall woman dancer. It was removed by grinding the mounting bolts from the bottom of the sculpture, however, the artwork remained intact.