Gowen woman’s ArtPrize piece not completely fixable

By Kelli Ameling • Last Updated 10:30 am on Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Judy Rogers’ ArtPrize entry “Love is …” was mostly repaired by Tuesday afternoon after it was vandalized on Monday. — Daily News/Darrin Clark

GREENVILLE — A damaged ArtPrize piece does not represent what the theme of the piece was supposed to represent — “Love is …”

Artist Judy Rogers, a Gowen resident and former Cedar Crest Elementary School teacher, said she returned to her ArtPrize entry located at the YMCA in Grand Rapids to find it surrounded by police on Monday night. A man had came out of the YMCA and apparently started pushing the piece until it broke.

“(A witness) said he just kept pushing and pushing,” Rogers said. “He said the man seemed really upset about something.”

The globe was completely pushed off its pedestal and axle, which was what originally made the piece spin, displaying images students from Cedar Crest and Lincoln Heights Elementary School made to show what love is to them.

“He did a number on the piece,” Rogers said.

Other damage — such as cracking the main cast — was also done to the piece.

“We are so sorry to hear of the damage to the Cedar Crest and Lincoln Heights ArtPrize piece,” said Lincoln Heights Elementary School Principal Michelle Blaszczynski. “Our students were pleased to contribute their sincere artistic expressions, and Judy Rogers did a wonderful job synthesizing their work.”

Cedar Crest Elementary School Principal Gretchen Baarman said since the incident, Rogers talked about talking to the students about forgiveness and that “Love is …” also forgiveness.

“It tied right into the message,” said Baarman of Rogers’ words.

A forensics team was called to the scene Monday night, but fingerprints could not be taken off the piece without it completely ruining it. However, investigators were able to pick up a footprint from the base of the piece and are using it in their investigation.

“Love is…” was put back up as much as possible Tuesday afternoon, but the globe is unable to spin.

Students from Greenville Public Schools will be taking a trip to Grand Rapids on Thursday and Friday to see the piece.

“I wish it wouldn’t have happened before the students could see it,” Rogers said. “What happened definitely does not represent what ‘Love is…’”

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