Vandalized sculpture restored ahead of scheduleby Chris Roberts, Minnesota Public Radio
A popular St. Paul sculpture vandalized in July has been restored, several weeks ahead of schedule. The sculpture, located in Phalen Park, was defaced with blue spray paint and covered with swastikas, the initials KKK, and an anti-Asian slur.
St. Paul, Minn. — Several East Side community groups launched the restoration effort. Organizers say the project finished earlier than expected because of the number of volunteers who pitched in.
Christine Podas Larson is president of Public Art St. Paul, which commissioned the sculpture. Podas Larson says there's no guarantee the sculpture won't be vandalized again, but that's the nature of public art.
"It was made for a public place," she said. "It was made for the citizens to have access to and see. And as vulnerable as it is, still healing, it was time to uncover it and let people see it again, and it looks beautiful."
A meticulous restoration process began last Friday, which involved removing the paint with tape, hot water, and scalpel-like tools.
Sculpture conservator Kristin Cheronis led the restoration. Cheronis says the work went quickly because of all the volunteers who helped out.
"We just put hundreds of hours of treatment time into it in a four-day period, because there were so many people," Cheronis said. "So we did accomplish more than we thought we would in a shorter period of time."
Some of those volunteers are now taking turns patrolling the sculpture, and police have been monitoring the area more closely.