||Letter to the editor of the Memphis Flyer
printed Nov. 4, 1999
re: City Reporter story on my stolen work
[words in blue omitted by editor]
I am turning into a public grouch!
While your story by Ashley Fantz is generally accurate,
it has errors and omissions which I feel compelled to correct.
The biggest is the slant, which makes me seem as though I am only
interested in getting compensated for my stolen artworks. I considered
writing a letter to the Flyer which would have publicized that issue,
but I thought it more important to have my photo of the works printed,
so people would know what the stolen works look like, and
the thieves would not be as able to enjoy their stolen art. Perhaps
they might find their way back to me. I would greatly prefer getting
my work back than getting the money I think they were worth from
insurance. I told Ashley this several times.
Certainly, I feel that security at Arts in the Park was lax,
and that things were handled in a cavalier manner, but the villains
are the thieves.
Remarks you attribute to Woody Degan, known to my friends
to be a good guy, demand my correction. My work was where it was
because I was indeed juried into the show as a Special Projects
artist, and the Special Projects are scattered throughout the park
and marked on the maps. Ashley was told this
by me and I faxed her the map. I would not have chosen
that location myself but did not feel I could change it. Your story
makes it sound as if I wandered in with some sculptures and set
up in a bosky dell for privacy.
Anyone who has been robbed goes over
and over the circumstances, doing things different, but ultimately
my work was where it was supposed to be and at the mercy of AITP
security. And some lousy thieves. I knew that between my homeowner's
insurance and Memphis Arts Festival's, something would be worked
out. But I called on the Flyer to show the photo, as the Commercial
Appeal declines to show nudes, and to alert the community to the
I ask that anyone who saw persons carrying a tall, clear
fiberglass nude or a heavy, curvy concrete torso on Sunday, Oct.
17th or the next morning -or since then- please contact me or the
aside to editor: David Hall wanted to write
this story and I wish he had been able to follow through.
My homeowner's insurance agent probably did the most to fight for
me, after board chairman Lee Askew supported my cause.
The AITP's insurance company was stuck on the problem that I had
valued my work at $700-2000 (I meant for each piece) and would not
pay $2000 for the fiberglass as well as $1200 for the concrete as
I claimed. I documented my claim with my sales history.
The tall fiberglass statue was in fact returned,
some weeks later, to the office of Arts in the Park by an unseen
person, and so came back to me.
Then their insurance co. paid for the concrete piece.
Carolyn Bailey resigned as executive of Memphis Arts Festival soon
after. She was a very able fundraiser, and running the whole operation
is probably too big a job for any one person --there's just too
much to be handled.