Thieves made off with one of Northglenn’s most popular pieces of public art sometime between April 26 and 29 — a cheerful bronze bear, tree and beehive that had guarded the Washington Street entrance to Grant Park.
“We actually thought that was a great spot for sculpture because it was so visible from the street,” said Michael Stricker, Northglenn’s cultural programs supervisor.
Northglenn Police representative Renae Lehr said witness last saw the sculpture “Bee My Honey” in its place along the walking path just east of Washington Street on April 26. It was noticed missing the following Monday, April 29.
“So it must have disappeared over the weekend,” she said. “We haven’t found it, but we appreciate the help looking for it.”
Lehr said police have no leads or theories at this point.
“We hope that somebody saw something and just thought it was city staff doing some work,” Lehr said. “We hope someone will report something.”
Stricker said the sculpture was a part of the city’s annual Art on Parade program and was popular enough with residents that the city purchased it and made it a permanent part of the collection in 2012.
“Nothing like this has ever happened before,” Stricker said. “We’ve had some minor vandalism, here and there, all of it very fixable. But we’ve never had an entire sculpture removed and stolen.”
It was designed by Greeley artist Colleen Pitcher and includes two pieces, a 200-pound bronze bear cub and the 800-pound tree and beehive the bear is reaching towards.
“It is this really wonderful, whimsical scene of the bear and the tree, with little animals hidden around it,” Stricker said. “It actually has been one of the community’s favorites I think because of how whimsical and fun it is.”
The piece is valued at $21,000, just one portion of the city’s public art portfolio that’s been collecting since 2000. Stricker said the entire portfolio is valued at about $600,000.
“The thing to me that is the most disappointing and frustrating is that public art is exactly that — it’s for the public,” he said. “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into beautifying our parks. One way we do that is with public art, which we put out for the enjoyment of everyone. When someone takes something like this, they are not taking it from the city. They are taking it from the public, the residents.”
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