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Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

October 12, 2009 at 3:13 PM

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Columbus sculpture boxed up to deter vandals

Posted by Gabriel Campanario


1:16 p.m. [Click image to view larger] [Sketch location]

This is not the latest piece of guerrilla art to appear in Seattle overnight. It's the statue of Christopher Columbus at Pier 57. The City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs had it covered up last Friday to protect it from repeated vandalism that has occurred around Columbus Day in past years.

Since I came to sketch the statue in honor of the holiday I was disappointed to find it inside a box.

This is what the notice taped on the crate says:

City of Seattle
Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

Oct. 9, 2009

Dear patrons of Pier 57:

The City of Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs has temporarily crated this bronze sculpture of Christopher Columbus to protect the artwork from repeated vandalism.

For the past years on or near Columbus Day, vandals have covered this sculpture with toxic paint. The paint has permanently damaged the artwork, marred the pier and threatened the waters of the Puget Sound and sealife below.

We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for your patience.

For more information, call 684-7171 or email

Lori Patrick, public-relations manager for the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, said this was the most cost-effective solution to protect the sculpture, which was covered with red paint by vandals the past two years.

"It's our responsibility to protect the city's art collection," she said. They considered hiring security but the costs of watching around the clock would have been higher.

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