LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) – The La Crosse Arts Board is denouncing the vandalization of a sculpture that has stood outside City Hall since 2018.
“Hatched Baby” was created by Wolfgang Auer, and was given to the City of La Crosse by its sister city Friedberg, Germany.
This past weekend, the La Crosse Police Department says the head of the sculpture was torn off, and the face was stolen by an unknown number of people.
Photos of the sculpture’s face appeared on the Instagram account Barstool Sports of La Crosse, but they have since been deleted.
Officers later found the face in the front lawn of a residence at 1003 King Street on Monday morning.
The Arts Board spoke out against the vandalism on Monday, saying in part:
“We urge those who participated in these acts of vandalism to come forward, so we may begin the process of restoring this work of art now that the stolen portion has been recovered.”
Arts Board Chair Jennifer Williams says having discussions or debates about public pieces of art is always welcomed, but theft and vandalism are unacceptable.
“When people are curious about art enough to talk about it and debate its merits, love, hate, whatever, that says that art has done its job well,” Williams added.
La Crosse Mayor Mitch Reynolds also released a statement on Wednesday, saying that the City’s police officers are continuing their search for the vandals.
Reynolds added that “Hatched Baby” has been damaged to the point where further display will not be possible until it has been suitably repaired.