Steel sculpture stolen

June 04, 2008|By Annie Linskey | Annie Linskey,Sun Reporter

The head is 6 feet tall, made of steel bars and weighs between 200 and 300 pounds.

It was supposed to be covered with a clay and soil mixture this weekend during a fundraiser and then displayed in front of Baltimore Clayworks for the summer.

But thieves derailed that plan this past weekend when they carted away the $4,000 artwork, leaving nothing but a dried ring of grass in front of the Mount Washington studio.

"I was absolutely speechless and felt sick," said Ann Hazels, the gallery owner and events coordinator for the studio. "We've had so much sculpture on display here. We've never had a problem with anything on site."

Hazels said that a staff member noticed Monday that the sculpture, called Mudhead, was missing. She said that everyone had assumed the artists had moved the piece for some reason, and by yesterday they realized that the piece had been stolen. City police confirmed that they took a larceny report from Clayworks.

Trisha Kyner and David Freidheim, a husband-and-wife artist team, built the piece in 2004 and displayed it at a Marin County Elementary School in California and at Catonsville Community College. "There are some people who don't have respect for works in public," Kyner said.

The pair installed the steel framework in Mount Washington on Thursday and had planned to cover it with burlap this week. This Friday and Saturday, they planned to supervise as donors at ClayFest covered the head with the soil mixture known as cob.

Instead, Kyner was busy yesterday making an oversized sign to put outside of Clayworks asking for leads about the stolen piece. "It might just be unceremoniously dumped back at night," she said.

Meanwhile she said that her husband bought steel so they could make another, smaller sculpture before the weekend fundraiser.

annie.linskey@baltsun.com

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