Arts in the Park 1999     A warning to artists!

A tale of lifecast sculpture, theft, journalism, small money and incompetence. See also AITP-present problems

I called my project Busting Out.
AITP renamed it Breaking Out. 
Da noive!

Read my artist's statement and proposal for this project.

See more about the actual sculptures and how they were made.

Here are the three statues I cast before the festival and busted out of their molds, one each day, at my designated location. Big chunks of the plaster molds are set near the statues.  Because the weather that final Sunday was cold, windy and grey, I couldn't take very good photographs. Didn't think it would turn out be so important!

MemphisFlyer story with b&w photo by Ashley Fantz

Inaccurate as to 'first suspicions': the first piece stolen, the tall fiberglass maiden, was not thought to have been tossed in the dumpster. I saw no uniformed guards that night despite driving around and asking. The non-uniformed security man to whom I reported this theft was unknown to Carolyn Bailey!! - and unable to call anyone. 
The second, concrete one was thought to perhaps have been tossed by cleanup crews.
There were no volunteer sitters at the Special Projects locations as had been promised. NOTE: By getting my homeowner's insurance agent on the case I got paid for one statue, the concrete one.. and the tall fiberglass one was returned.


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 theft. 
  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 Memphis police.
                                          Dan Spector

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. 


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