En Pointe Sculpture on Broadway Vandalized Shortly After Installation
It didn’t take very long. Less than two days after the ballet pointe shoe sculpture was installed in front of N. Fox Jewelers on Broadway toward the end of June, it was vandalized.
The shoe, one of a series of similar sculptures installed around the city, was purchased by N. Fox Jewelers for display. Each en pointe shoe was decorated by a different artist in varying themes. The sculptures were a fundraiser for the National Museum of Dance. “I felt strongly about supporting the dance museum and purchased the shoe and had it put up…The title is ‘Marry Me,’ and we thought it would be appropriate to have an aluminum, fake wedding band and fake diamond ring on top,” said Harvey Fox, owner of the jewelry store. The rings themselves had little real value.
“It was put up and installed on a Thursday afternoon and my staff and I started a little contest; we said how long would those rings last,” said Fox. The staff settled on a two day period – some said Friday, the others said Saturday. As it turns out, both were right.
“Sure enough, we came into work Saturday morning and the wedding band was broken off from Friday night,” said Fox. “So we just had the fake diamond ring left. And of course, Sunday morning I get a text that that was missing. So one was taken Friday night, and one was taken Saturday. It lasted less than 48 hours before it was vandalized.”
The damaged en pointe sculpture with only the base that held the rings remaining
Fox says items on the sidewalk in front of their shop have been vandalized in the past as well. “We had large flower urns on each end of our property, and after three weeks of getting a phone call every Sunday from the police I decided to bring them home, because they were just tipped over, and the dirt and flowers were everywhere every Saturday and Sunday.”
The store also has an ornate clock installed in a landscape box on the sidewalk. The clock was placed in honor of Harvey Fox’s father, Norman, who founded the store and who turns 94 this weekend. The clock has also been vandalized in the past. “But the shoe was very quick.”
Donna Skiff is the Director of the National Museum of Dance. The museum has placed 25 of the en pointe sculptures across the city, and has nine more coming. She says she has not heard of any other sculpture having been damaged so far. “We have not heard of anything else, and I’m hoping, because their locations are very visible, that nothing else will happen. I’m just sad to see that someone would vandalize these shoes, after the sponsors were so generous in supporting our fundraiser.”
Skiff said they raised around $60,000 from the fundraiser. That figure might have been lower, but she said the bases for the statues were all donated anonymously.
Pointe shoes are not the only sculptures visible downtown. For years, a number of horses have also been on display, and they have not been immune to damage. In 2008 the horse sculpture outside Roohan Realty was damaged on four separate occasions, once by two men and a woman trying to mount the horse before knocking it over. They were captured on video but not identified and arrested. Also in 2008 the horse outside the Masie Center on Washington Street was damaged when a leg was broken off. Three people admitted to causing the damage and agreed to pay to have it repaired. And In 2010, two teens were charged with knocking over a horse sculpture in Spa State Park near the auto museum. They were also charged with vandalizing several vehicles.
But Lt. John Catone of the Saratoga Springs Police Department says damage to all the sculptures around the city has been minimal over the years.
The Dance Museum, meanwhile, is not finished with having fun with the sculptures. Skiff said they have placed QR codes – those bar codes that look like abstract paintings – on the base of the sculptures around town. People are encouraged to scan the code with their smartphone to get details of a photo competition now underway. “Take a picture of yourself with one of the sculptures and post it to our Facebook page, and it will be entered in the contest,” she said. Contestants will get a chance to win a cash prize or some En Pointe merchandise.
As for the N. Fox Jewelry sculpture, Harvey Fox said they have a contractor working on a solution. They hope to devise a way of attaching new rings to the sculpture with some sort of fastener that will allow the rings to be removed each evening when the store closes for business. The original attachment was done with glue.
In the meantime, he said he has absolutely no regrets, despite the vandalism. “Obviously we felt it was a very good thing to do for the dance museum. It’s just unfortunate that it has to be vandalized. But would we do it again? Sure.”
ON THE WIRE