Sculpture that was vandalized, stolen back up on Water Street

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - About three weeks ago, the Eau Claire Police Department recovered the “Seahorse" after it was broken off the pedestal it stood on along Water Street.

Students from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in New Richmond got involved to turn a bad situation into a good one.

"The sculpture is up and fixed and the tour is complete again," said Sculpture Tour Eau Claire Executive Director Julie Pangallo.

Sculpture Tour Eau Claire has faced numerous acts of vandalism over the years. Today, students from WITC got a chance to do some good by reattaching the “Seahorse" on Water Street.

“I'll be welding it today,” said WITC student Caleb Davis. “We will be using a specific rod for the specific metal so it'll give it the most strength we could possibly apply.”

Instructors from WITC said they saw the story on our WEAU website and decided to help out anyway they could. It also sparked an interest in some students.

“They all enjoyed it and definitely started talking about sculptures and maybe the artsy side of welding,” said WITC welding instructor Cody Hiben. “It's nice to give a positive outlook to a negative situation and a little help goes a long way.”

Pangallo said the relationship between WITC and Sculpture Tour could be beneficial for both parties.

“I got a call from Cody the instructor and he thought WITC could help us out and make a difference,” she said. “It's a great opportunity for us to get to know them and promote art to people who have a talent that is probably used more industrially, but we would love to see some sculptures come from this group.”

For Davis, he said he had never thought of using welding in an artistic fashion.

“Probably more of an industrial thing, but I do like the sculptures,” he said. “We looked at some of the pictures the museum has, they do have some really sweet metal art and I’ve definitely giving it a thought.”

Pangallo said it's sad when people destroy an artist hard work.

In the years I’ve been involved we've probably had about a half-dozen incidents where a sculpture has been either vandalized or stolen,” she said. “It's always a bad call and it's even worse when I have to call the artist and tell them what happened.”

She also said they have an ally in future sculpture repair.

“It's a great learning experience for them and it's great to have this resource. It's really a win-win.”

The sculpture was back up in about 15 minutes, completing the Sculpture Tour once again along Water Street. Pangallo says the vandal in this case has not been caught yet. If you have any information, contact the Eau Claire Police Department