Albuquerque public art hit by vandals

Positive Energy of New Mexico - Albuquerque Public Art

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – They are supposed to make Albuquerque beautiful, but vandals are targeting public art all over the city.

“During sunset the blue really stands out. It’s almost like it glows,” said Omar Montes.

Like Montes, Bert Fox enjoys spending his extra time admiring the more than 800 pieces of public art around Albuquerque.

“It’s beautiful,” said Fox.

One of Fox’s favorite pieces is “Positive Energy of New Mexico” near Louisiana and I-40.

“It’s very very pretty and it makes a statement in a very good spot,” Fox said.

The sculpture took Michael Metcalf two years to create. Since it was installed in 2007, vandals have hit it again and again. The most recent was last week.

“It’s disheartening when somebody else puts their mark on your piece,” Metcalf said.

Metcalf’s sculpture isn’t the only one that has taken a beating. Neighbors said someone shot at the piece called “Stair Chair” by David Wagner at Alamosa Park in the South Valley a few months ago.

On Wednesday, the $30,000 piece made with glass shipped from Germany, was covered in grafitti.

“Man, it really bugs,” Montes said. “Whenever we finally get something nice and finally get our parks going and people just vandalize and treat our parks like kids don’t play here, you know,.”

“It’s too bad that people feel like they have to take out some sort of anger or something on a piece of art work,” said Albuquerque Public Art Program Manager Sherri Brueggemann.

The city said it costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to maintain the art work and clean up graffiti.

“If it’s a quick sort of wipe down you know less than a $100, but if it’s a major restoration project where we have to wax the bronze and clean it up it could be couple hundred,” said Brueggemann.

“It’s respect for someone else’s property,” said Fox. “If it’s not yours, don’t touch it.”

The city said it has a group of art professionals it hires to clean up pieces. They also have a team of workers that checks in on the artwork periodically to make sure there is no damage.

According to the city,  it responds to public art vandalism a couple times a month. The say it sees a spike in the summer time when kids are out of school..

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