Vandals too much for public art | Wally’s World

You’ll probably recall that sculpture at the corner of Porter Street and Griffin Avenue in front of City Hall. “Boys In the Band” I think it was called.

You’ll probably recall that sculpture at the corner of Porter Street and Griffin Avenue in front of City Hall. “Boys In the Band” I think it was called.

Well, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s gone. And the fact that you may not have noticed seems to suggest how significant it was in the general scheme of things. Indeed, according to Gary LaTurner, Enumclaw’s cultural director, the work was never created as a first-class piece of public art. Instead, it was merely a relatively cheap work of “garden art.”  (The city was short of funds when it was purchased.)

Personally, I always felt it was a little bit silly, but cute in a playful kind of way.

Though I couldn’t find anyone who remembered the name of the sculptor, some people offered to research the issue and find out. However, I didn’t think it was important enough to pursue. The sculptor was Taiwanese, which may account for the lapse of memory.

The work was rather weakly constructed of lightweight bronze and iron. It was damaged when it arrived, but we accepted it anyway. Some city utility employees made the necessary repairs and mounted it on a cement slab at the strategic corner.

From the get-go, the thing sparked a copyright controversy, but neither myself nor people at this newspaper office seem to remember any of the details. Apparently, as best I recollect, the squabble arose because more than one replica of the sculpture might have been poured;  that is, there may have been a duplicate somewhere else in the world. Perhaps more than one.

Over the years, vandals kept breaking parts off the work. (As noted, it wasn’t that solidly built.) In one case, the boy’s trumpet was broken off; in another, the drumstick. Who would have done this is anybody’s guess. I suspect some 13- or 14-year-old fellows who were full of raging hormones – you’ll probably recall how it was – and couldn’t “get no satisfaction” so they directed their frustration at the nearest, convenient target. Whoever was responsible didn’t take the fractured pieces with them, but just left them on the ground and, once again, city employees would have to weld it back together.

At any rate, the statue was finally damaged so badly it couldn’t be patched up so “Boys In the Band” was simply torn down and discarded. There really wasn’t anything else you could do with it.

And so it goes.

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