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Vandals damage Durango park sculpture

Courtesy of city of Durango file photo

Vandals have damaged “Iris,” a sculpture by Durango artist Bryan Seran, which has been in Schneider Park since 2010 and was scheduled to removed later this month. This photo shows the piece before the damage.

By Robert Galin Herald staff writer

When Durango artist Bryan Saren learned last week that his sculpture “Iris” at Schneider Park had been damaged, his first reaction was: “It is just a piece of steel. ... I made it once, I can make it again. It makes me appreciate those things in life that are not steel.”

This equanimity pervades Saren’s work, which includes the city’s 125th commemorative sculpture installed outside the front entrance of Durango City Hall.

Despite this apparent lack of antipathy toward the perpetrators, Saren did admit in an email that, “From the start, I was concerned about the potential of vandalism. However, I had faith that this would not occur.”

Saren’s piece, “Iris,” was loaned to the community as part of the Public Art Commission’s ongoing Art-on-Loan Program, according to a news release from the city. It was damaged last Thursday.

Saren said he is “going in on Monday to view the damage ... and learn from it.”

Vandals destroyed part of the sculpture’s flower.

He said: “To those who did this, I have no ill will. They know what they did was wrong and may one day better themselves from this.”

Saren also said the vandalism will change the way he produces his public art.

“I am going to find a way to make them (artwork) stronger and less susceptible to incidents such as these,” he said. “My works and approach will benefit from this incident, as I will see what happened and improve my technique for a stronger future.”

Saren, a Fort Lewis College graduate, creates kinetic, or moving, sculptures. He said the kinetic works are intended to create serenity in the observer.

“I just want the viewer to relax and not feel like they have to read into (my art) or see a meaning because making them simply makes me relax,” Saren said.

The city’s news release said “Iris” was offered for sale for $5,200, and it has been on display since 2010. It was scheduled for removal later this month.

Cristie Scott, chairwoman of the Public Art Commission, said: “While we are aware that vandalism is a possibility any time public art is installed in the community, the destruction to Bryan’s piece is extremely disheartening. Public art strengthens our community’s identity, quality of life and evolving culture. Durango is fortunate to have a diverse collection, with very few incidences of vandalism over the past 15 years, and as a commission we will continue to be mindful of the safety, security and placement of artwork.”

No suspects have yet been identified. Anyone who has any information about the crime or the people involved are asked to call Durango Police Officer Rick Paige at 385-2900 or Crime Stoppers at 247-1112. Tips also can be submitted at www.durangolaplatacrimestoppers.org.

Callers do not need to give their names, and may be eligible for a cash reward.


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