Fargo's public art problem: Vandals strike again, this time damaging Sunny

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"Every single piece of public art that has gone up downtown has been vandalized," the Arts Partnership, an arts advocacy group based in Fargo, wrote on its website.

The most recent was Sunny, a painted fiberglass bison statue that has stood at Broadway and Main streets in downtown Fargo for eight years. It was damaged and knocked over Saturday, the Arts Partnership says.

This is just the latest public art piece to be vandalized around the town in the last few years. About a one minute walk from Sunny, the Fargo-Moorhead Piano Project's public art piano was knocked over and damaged in August, and after an effort to fix it, it was eventually damaged beyond repair, the Arts Partnership said. Several other public art pianos were also vandalized this fall.

The Arts Partnership noted instances of public art vandalism in 2012 as well.

Raising money for repairs

In an effort to hopefully repair Sunny, the Arts Partnership has started collection donations. Shortly before noon Wednesday, the Arts Project had raised $430 towards repairing and reinstalling the statue, Fargo Forum reports. And Wimmer’s Diamonds, which bought the statue for $8,500, has pledge to match donations up to $2,500, the Arts Partnership says.

For the meantime, Sunny is being stored at Wimmer's Diamonds until it can be sent back to Fiberstock Inc., based in Buffalo, Minnesota, to be fixed.

Pat Kruger, of Blaine, Minnesota, will be invited to repaint the piece, Forum says. She painted the statue as part of the 2006 "Herd About the Prairie" campaign to increase public art by scattering 43 individually decorated bison statues throughout the community, the newspaper notes.

This most recent instance of vandalism has the Arts Partnership once again calling out to the public to help keep public art intact. The organization says it hopes the Fargo City Commission's newly approved Arts and Culture Commission will look into how other cities with public art have kept the pieces safe.

The commission, which is a first of its kind for North Dakota, was formed to address the push for public art, including what will be added and where. They're set to meet for the first time next month to discuss a public art piece to honor late Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker, who recently died, Valley News Live reported.

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