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Longboat Key Wednesday, Jul. 28, 2010 7 years ago

Statue loses instrumental part to vandalism

by: Robin Hartill Managing Editor

When vandals knocked the lyre from the Music statue on St. Armands Circle earlier this year, the statue got her stringed instrument back with funds from the Save Our Statues (SOS) program. But after another incident of vandalism July 16, “Music,” one of the “Seven Virtues of Sarasota” statues on St. Armands Circle, might have to wait a while to get both her lyre replaced.

According to a Sarasota Police Department incident report, about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 20, Officer Donzia Franklin was on bicycle patrol when she noticed that the arm and lyre had been broken from the Music statue, located in the east quadrant of the Circle. A passerby told Franklin that he or she witnessed the statue being vandalized over the weekend. Franklin then transported the broken pieces to the home of SOS Chairman Ed Pinto for repair.

SOS generated more than $150,000 in private donations after Pinto unveiled the plan to restore St. Armands statues in 2007, along with a $3,500-a-year pledge from the city of Sarasota for maintenance.

John Ringling’s historic statues were restored, and 21 new statues, including the “Seven Virtues of Sarasota” statues, were erected in early 2008, marking the completion of the project.

Bill Rex, first vice president of the St. Armands Residents Association, estimates that vandalism has cost the association $5,000 of SOS funds over the past two years. SOS currently has approximately $500 left in its account; Rex said it could cost up to $5,000 to repair the statue.

“This current incident is just another incident,” he said. “They typically happen over the weekend with partiers and revelers out on the Circle.”

In the last two years, the group has paid for a new foot for the Apollo statue, after it was broken off by a Circle-goer, and a new hand for Christopher Columbus, who had been missing the appendage for more than five years. And when vandals knocked over two statues, Pinto arranged for them to receive stronger bases.

Rex said that ongoing incidents of vandalism make maintenance of the statues difficult. He said that residents could, eventually, personally pay to fix the Music statue.

“The momentum isn’t in the project,” he said. “I think ‘Music’ is going to sit there for a while.”

Contact Robin Hartill at [email protected].

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