Sarasota leaders seek funds to repair vandalized statue

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Music, one of the ‘seven virtues of Sarasota’, lost not only its head, but also an arm, fingers and its beloved harp

SARASOTA, Fla. – The condition of a statue in Sarasota has had many locals and tourists talking for a few months. The head of one of Sarasota’s popular and recognizable statue sets at St. Armands Circle is missing.

“He had no head and I realized he had no hands. At first I thought maybe it was a long time ago when they brought him that his head fell,” said Chloe Elefterion, 7. , a sophomore and a tourist from New York.

In January, someone vandalized the statue and significantly damaged it. The once magnificent statue, Music, one of the “seven virtues of Sarasota”, has lost not only her head, but also an arm, fingers and her beloved harp.

“Why would you do that, it’s just a perfectly beautiful statue that people want to take pictures with,” Chloe said.

As the city began planning to repair the statue and others like it, public works department staff encountered complex challenges. The statues, which adorn St. Armands Circle, are among 21 statues donated to the City of Sarasota in 2008 by the St. Armands Association.

The gift at the time came with a five-year maintenance allowance that had been exhausted and had long since expired. This meant that a $12,000 repair cost presented to the city as part of a bid was not part of any part of the city’s budget and had to come from elsewhere.

A city spokesperson said staff hope to team up with the community to help find ways to generate funds to complete the repairs as soon as possible.

“I understand that Public Works probably doesn’t have an artist claiming a statue on their payroll. I think it has to happen, but it’s just too bad someone is even doing that,” said Jim Hallman, a resident of Sarasota.

The city says it will work with the St. Armands Business Improvement District and community groups to preserve and repair the statues. The repair plan could also include the repositioning of the statues.

“If it got knocked over by some people, it wasn’t secured safely. And if it landed on someone, you know? Some of these statues should be secured so someone can get them. overturn,” said Fred Mohr, a visiting firefighter from New Jersey.

“These are beautiful statues, it’s a beautiful place, and once you let one thing be damaged and you let it go, you’re going to let everything else be damaged,” Mohr said.

The Office for Public Art now wants to create a special category for ‘cultural facilities’ from next year, to help maintain all public art in the future.

“Maybe there’s an additional tourist tax or something that can help. With all the construction going on, I’m sure there’s money floating around here somewhere,” Craig said. Marc-Aurele, a tourist from Boston.

“I mean we’ll pay a few percent extra,” Madison Estes, also of Boston, said.

Sarasota police said there were no known witnesses to the incident and there were no security cameras in the area that captured what happened. For this reason, they were unable to identify any suspects in order to make an arrest related to the vandalism of the statue.

“Maybe they were just having a bad day and got mad at the statue,” Chloe said.

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