The following article is from the Bend Bulletin.
Bronze bird swiped in Redmond
100-pound heron statue was part of public art program
By Erik Hidle / The Bulletin
Published: March 15. 2012 4:00AM PST
REDMOND — An art thief targeted a bronze heron statue displayed in downtown Redmond this week, lopping off the $8,400 bird at its spindly legs and removing it from the city’s outdoor public art gallery.
Redmond police believe the theft occurred late Monday night or early Tuesday morning.
The statue weighs about 100 pounds and, when welded to its concrete pedestal along Northwest 6th Street, sat about 4 feet high. It changed color in the light, thanks to a patina containing trace amounts of silver.
“Grace,” by Kim Chavez, was unveiled and installed in Redmond last fall.
It appears the bird’s legs made it an easy target for a thief with a cutting implement. All that remains of the statue are a few long copper barbs protruding from the heron’s perch.
Artist Kim Chavez, who crafted the statue named “Grace,” said it’s brutal for her to look at what is left behind.
“It’s like having one of your children in the wrong hands,” Chavez said. “It’s really hard to look at it right now.”
Chavez and her husband, Phil, are metal artists. He says the theft is personal because “we do this for a living.”
But Chavez isn’t letting the theft dampen her desire to participate in the city’s outdoor gallery.
“Redmond is just starting to collect its art,” she said. “I feel bad for Redmond right now.”
The statue was featured as part of the Art Around the Clock gallery introduced by the city last summer. Through the program, pieces of art are rented on a two-year basis and displayed downtown. People who like pieces may buy them.
The city replaces the art at the end of each two-year cycle with new pieces.
So far, the program has added four statues, a fountain and a wall hanging to locations across downtown Redmond.
Heather Richards, Redmond’s community development director, said the city has taken out insurance on the art in the gallery and will be working with Chavez to add a new piece in the place of the stolen statue.
“The community responded really well to this program,” Richards said. “It’s heartbreaking that this happened, but we aren’t going to let it spoil the program.”
The Redmond Police Department is investigating the theft and asks anyone with information to call 541-504-3400.
— Reporter: 541-617-7837