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Sculpture garden in Granville Gude Park damaged

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Posted on: May 27, 2024

By AIESHA SOLOMON

A damaged bird sculpture.
Courtesy of Christine Lee Tyler

The city of Laurel opened a sculpture garden in Granville Gude Park on May 4, during the city’s Lakefest celebration. Several of the painted bird sculptures were damaged, and while a police report was filed, it was unclear if the pieces were damaged during their transportation and installation or if they were vandalized.

Vandalism is uncommon in Laurel, according to Laura Guenin, Laurel Police Department’s public information officer.

“Most of the vandalism we see in the City of Laurel is usually vehicle related, where suspects are attempting to break into cars. Therefore, broken windows, and other vehicle damage,”  Guenin wrote in an email. ”This type of vandalism is rare.” Guenin added that the incident is under ongoing investigation.

Bill Bailey, director of Laurel Parks and Recreation Department, also does not believe the city has a problem with vandalism.

“Our parks, we don’t see a lot of vandalism. Maybe some graffiti, but I don’t really recall some vandalism,” Bailey said.

Laurel police do daily foot patrols of the city, including in all of its parks and neighborhoods, Guenin said. Residents can report apparent vandalism by calling the city’s recreation department (301.725.7800) during business hours or the police department’s non-emergency number (301.498.0092). Residents can also provide information anonymously by emailing LP*****@la****.us.

Bailey noted that nothing out of the ordinary in the sculpture garden was recorded on camera. 

“They didn’t see, like kids go up there with a baseball bat or something like that,” Bailey said. “In fact, the only thing they did see was … one of the sculptures fell over on its own. It was tall, and probably a little top heavy, so it probably just fell over.”

Bailey noted that a number of things could have damaged the sculptures.

“We don’t really know how they were broken or rather it was in transport or the weather or just the gravity itself,” he said.

Bailey’s staff and the sculptor, Christine Lee Tyler, worked together to have the garden ready and  in good shape for Lakefest.

“Nobody really knew there was any real issues or anything out there. It all happened behind the scenes,” Bailey said. “To the average person, I don’t think they knew what happened.” 

While Tyler was saddened by the incident, she recalled the positivity of the community in a phone interview.  

“I do not think this is a reflection of the community whatsoever,” Tyler said. “The last thing I want is this to turn into a sad situation.  I feel like we’re gonna to triumph, and it’s gonna to happen, and it’s gonna be great. It’s just sort of figuring it all out, which is what we’re doing right now.”

The sculptures have since been removed from Granville Gude Park. According to Bailey, there are plans in the works for exhibiting them again. 

“We’re still working out the details on that right now. I can’t say 100%, but it looks like doing some kind of movable exhibit, if you will,” Bailey said. “We’ll move them around from site to site.”

“The work that was destroyed or semi-destroyed is being refurbished to go around the buildings of Laurel. I’m literally putting the pieces in potted plants,” Tyler said. “I’m going to cement them in and put dirt around them, so those pieces are gonna be repurposed. It’s not all for nothing. So those are going to go … to the Municipal Center, the police station, places like that.”

Bailey talked about lessons learned.

“Maybe moving ahead, we’d look at a more metal, more rebar, more rod iron type of thinking or something,” he said. 

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