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Arts Board comments on sculpture vandalism

blue baby stolen 1

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) - The City of La Crosse Arts Board is asking the person or persons responsible for damaging the "Hatched Baby" sculpture to turn themselves in.

The board issued a statement Tuesday regarding the vandalism done to the artwork.

La Crosse Police said an officer discovered that the face of the statue was stolen sometime early Sunday morning.

It was found Monday morning in the yard of a residence in the 1000 block of King Street.

In its statement, the arts board said the "theft and vandalism are unacceptable."

The City of La Crosse Arts Board denounces the act of willful damage to Wolfgang Auer’s Hatched Baby
sculpture. We urge those who participated in these acts of vandalism to come forward, so we may begin
the process of restoring this work of art now that the stolen portion has been recovered. Regardless of
one’s opinion of a work of art, theft and vandalism are unacceptable. When art exists in the public
sphere, it is subject to scrutiny, risk and sometimes outrage, and our community can support
enthusiastic debate on this topic. Additionally, works of art do not solely need to elicit feelings of joy. Art
can evoke sadness, anger, thoughtfulness, and a myriad of other feelings. It is for the observer to
distinguish their thoughts and feelings about the work of art. Planned removal of public art (as the Arts
Board supported in the removal of Hiawatha) is another matter. Witness the myriad Confederate
monuments that have been dismantled or removed in recent years following a process of public debate
and thoughtful consideration. These examples exist in a completely different context and it is important
to point out the difference between the crimes of theft and vandalism and planned dismantling
of biased monuments.

La Crosse Police continue to investigate who might have damaged the artwork and temporarily stolen the face. No arrests have been made as of Tuesday.

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