‘It was a kick in the gut’: SculptureWalk Fortunate To Have Missing Art Back Unharmed

A piece of art stolen from the SculptureWalk in downtown Sioux Falls has been found and without any damage. The statue was located just a few blocks away from its pedestal early Sunday morning by a couple of University of Sioux Falls students.

“It just sets it apart from most every downtown around the country,” said SculptureWalk Director Jim Clark.

Six-hundred-sixty-six statues have been featured in downtown as part of SculptureWalk Sioux Falls. In the last 13 years, Clark says only a few have been damaged or stolen. This past weekend was one of them.

“I checked around landscaping as best I could, I didn’t see anything. I drove up and down the street, didn’t see anything,” said Clark.

Clark says he was downtown Saturday afternoon preparing for the new pieces that will be installed this spring when he noticed one was missing between 9th and 10th Streets on Phillips Avenue.

“Obviously, someone had taken this sculpture, and it was a kick in the gut,” Clark said.

The sculpture was a Native American-themed statue of a horse’s head called ‘Weathering the Storm’. The 40-50 pound art piece was created by an artist in Utah, valued at nearly $6,000.

Sioux Falls Art Council Executive Director Kara Dirkson said, “When it’s a a work of art that was created specifically to share with the public, when someone violates that, it’s kind of a personal attack.”

The news spread fast. The piece was found just 12 hours later on a nearby sidewalk. It didn’t suffer any damage.

“Usually when they do that, it will fall on the sidewalk so then you got a nice big scratch on it,” said Clark.

Clark says he tries to take a drive downtown about every day. When a sculpture is tampered with, it’s usually the smaller pieces. He says they’ll be taking a little extra precautions this spring when it comes to welding the new batch in place.

“We’re very, very fortunate, very fortunate,” Clark said.

Clark says they do have insurance on all of the art so the artist doesn’t have to suffer when something like this happens. Finding the sculpture saved them the $2,500 deductible. However, SculptureWalk is going to reward those who found the sculpture $1,000.

Clark hopes now that the suspect is found and held responsible.

“It would be a valuable lesson for ’em to understand that, don’t be extremely stupid, and that’s what he was, or whoever did it,” said Clark.

Police say they’re working on getting surveillance footage from businesses in the area so they can identify any suspects involved. Anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at (605) 261-1536.

Even though the sculpture has been found, it won’t go back on display. All of the art is already scheduled to be removed on April 20.
and replaced by new sculptures on May 6.

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