One of five sculptures of golden dog poop and two plaques, part of the ART OnSite Project along the Tribute Trail leading out of Nevada City, were found Friday to have been vandalized.
One of the two poem-covered plaques was torn from a pole and thrown on the ground, and the other plaque’s Plexiglas covering was cracked. One of the five golden poop statues was smashed and destroyed, said Nancy Fleming, chair of the ART OnSite project.
“It’s very distressing because these are pieces of art and part of an art concept that has been violated,” said ART OnSite vice chair Nancy Nelson.
Fleming is also disappointed that such vandalism took place so soon after the project’s Sep. 7 debut.
“It is really heartbreaking but also shocking that these have been in place for one week, and one piece has already been destroyed,” she said. “It makes me embarrassed to be a part of this community to a certain degree.”
There is speculation that the controversial nature of the sculptures might have been the cause for the destruction.
“There are always questions of this kind of art being out in the public unsecured,” Fleming said.
“But a number of signs and benches have been placed along the Tribute Trail, and none of it has been defaced, so that gave me hope that this community is maybe more respectful. This was really heartbreaking.”
ART OnSite is part of a mission to connect the community, environment and arts through the art installations. The project has been a collaborative effort between Nevada City, Nevada County, Nevada County Arts and The Sierra Fund and involved eight professional artists.
The project received a two-year matching grant of $25,000 in July 2012 from the National Endowment for the Arts Our Town Initiative. ART OnSite has raised about $35,000 of the total project budget of $70,000, which will increase awareness of the environment in the community and schools and also create an informative video, Nelson said.
“The big intent is to involve the community, using art as a nexus for discussion, and support the history, the Deer Creek watershed, the environment and teach children about using art to communicate,” Nelson said.
“A big part of the grant was to draw tourism. It’s a layered vision.”
The vision behind the artwork was to challenge and provoke ideas or questions to draw the community together, Fleming said.
“It’s a huge contribution that was intended to bring joy and interest and bring in visitors to help with economic stimulation,” she said.
“(The vandalism) is a disappointment on a number of levels.”
The ART OnSite commission and involved artists will meet to discuss how to address the vandalism situation, Nelson said.
To report any suspicions or information, contact the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office at 530-265-1471.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.