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Monday, July 28, 2014
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Published: Friday, 10/24/2003

Senseless vandalism

The behavior of the vandal or vandals who broke apart a bronze statue of a pony-tailed girl kneeling, hands extended toward an old man, on the greensward around One Stranahan Square, is as baffling as it is maddening.

To be so annoyed by beautiful objects that one wants to destroy them, to be unable to coexist with art that enhances the environment - where beauty in public spaces inspires and induces joy - bespeaks a maladjustment of character that promises an unhappy life.

The Stranahan family bought Seasons, a copy of a Larry Anderson original statue grouping in Tacoma, Wash., to beautify the city and the property bearing their name as an act of magnanimity no one who takes or destroys can comprehend.

Nor will a vandal appreciate the generosity of Blissfield sculptor Ken Thompson, an instructor in his art at the University of Toledo. Given that this is a tight year for the building's occupants, they couldn't justify spending $2,000 or so to fix the bronze girl, whose feet were gashed as if by an ax and pulled from her base. Mr. Thompson has offered to fix it for free. It was a deal no one at the United Way building could turn down.

Ken Thompson is no stranger to repairing public art damaged by thoughtless fools. He has cast extra fingers and golf balls for Penelope Jencks' 1984 Family, a grouping along the Maumee River behind COSI, and for Josephine Kern's 1928 S.P. Jermain. It honors an extraordinary individual, Sylvanus Pierre Jermain, the father of public park golf in Toledo and indeed the United States. The sculpture of Mr. Jermain, positioning a golf club, stands on a big rock outside the clubhouse at Ottawa Park, which he created late in the 19th century.

There are times in history when vandalism has been a political tool. Buildings are defaced, windows broken, graffiti painted on blank walls and overpasses, all for causes that rarely win, or just to trample others' senses of security. Such random destruction is tough to stop.

One can only hope that when vandalism is discovered, police with fingerprint kits go immediately to the scene. Vandals are malefactors, not choirboys. Odds are good they have a history that identifies them.



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