LAMPASAS — Vandalism in area parks is not uncommon, but the total loss of a sculpture at Hanna Springs Sculpture Garden in June resulted in a $24,310 payout to the artist last week.
City council members approved paying sculptor Nic Noblique, whose steel sculpture “Lost in Wisconsin” was knocked off its base and bent by persons unknown. The money came out of insurance reimbursement.
Two other artists whose sculptures had been damaged, but not destroyed, also received smaller compensations.
“It probably stood 12 or 14 feet tall,” said Lt. Investigator Jody Cummings with the Lampasas Police Department. “It has been pushed over and various portions of it had been bent. An officer said it looked like they’d tried to break pieces of it free.”
A $2,000 reward for information through Crime Stoppers was offered, but no one has come forward.
The Lampasas Association for the Arts maintains the sculpture garden with help from the city. At any one time, there are 14 permanent pieces on display and about four temporary pieces that are rotated out yearly.
“It’s basically disrespect. That’s what happened,” said Nancy Gray, LAFTA president. “We’re not a big corporation. We’re a nonprofit volunteer organization.”
LAFTA agreed to pay the $2,500 deductible on the insurance claim when the sculptures in the park were reported damaged.
“We’re sure it’s youth,” Cummings said. “I don’t know who else would come and do that.”
In an effort to prevent destruction or catch vandals in the act, LPD has increased its patrols near the sculpture garden and LAFTA is looking into surveillance systems.
Noblique admitted he was irritated when he found out his piece had been destroyed.
“The total fabrication time was probably 80 hours,” he said of the “Lost in Wisconsin” sculpture. “So many other artists had their work vandalized as well, it was awful.”
However, Noblique is not planning to cut ties with Lampasas.
Currently, he is working on another sculpture to donate to the garden in December that will use a different mounting system.
“We’ll use an inch-thick, 3-foot-wide base and put nine holes in it,” he said of the piece that will replace “Lost in Wisconsin.”
“When it’s bolted in, it would take 60,000 pounds of torque to move it. You’d have to hit it with a semi to get it to move now,” Noblique said.
Lampasas often sees problems with seasonal displays, such as Christmas decorations, being targeted by vandals as well.
Any information about the vandalism may be anonymously shared with Crime Stoppers by calling (866) 756-TIPS.