COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – Columbus Police are investigating after an iconic sculpture went missing from downtown Columbus. Uptown Columbus Inc., the nonprofit that manages the public art program, said in a morning press release they are anxious for the sculpture’s return. The artist who created the work said during a Zoom call she would forgive whoever took it.
The statue, “May Flower” by artist Susan Geissler, depicts a young girl in raincoat and hat. It went missing from the corner of Broadway and East 10th Street sometime between April 9 and April 12, according to Uptown Columbus. While an investigation is under way, Uptown Columbus is asking for the public’s help recovering the statue.
Uptown Columbus said they “are hoping for the speedy and safe return of the statue with no questions asked.”
“This is a fun and whimsical statue that speaks to many people,” said Uptown Columbus Inc. president Ed Wolverton. “We are hopeful that someone will step forward to do the right thing by returning the statue or reporting where it is.”
When speaking to News 3, Wolverton said the worst case scenario was the statue winds up in a scrap yard. But he’s hopeful.
“It is common in Uptown to do a little prank,” Wolverton said. “But for an outright theft for something like this is very unusual. It’s something that they could probably navigate a truck right next to it and scooch it on, even though it was spot welded to the best. Best case scenario someone did it as a prank.”
Ed Weaver spends a lot of time in downtown Columbus. For Weaver, “May Flower” is special.
“I’m heartbroken over it, honestly. May Flower is my favorite art on Broadway. It’s an inspiration to me. It’s a reminder as little May depicts so clearly that no matter what the circumstances are around us, the spirit in us can still rejoice, just like this little girl dancing in the rain. It’s so sad to see this gone. I hope it’s returned.”
Like Wolverton, Weaver remains hopeful and just wants to see the statue back on its pedastal.
“There’s a lot of people who admire this little statue, this piece of art,” Weaver said. “While it might have been fun for a minute to have done this, we really value it and we wish it would be returned.”
Geissler spoke with News 3 about the theft this afternoon. It was the first she’d heard of the theft.
“It’s upsetting,” Geissler said. “It’s a sad thing when people are brought down to ripping sculptures off the sidewalk. I’m not taking it personally, but it’s a sad thing.”
“And I’d probably forgive them,” Geissler added.
“May Flower” was the first winner of the ArtBeat of Columbus competition in 2007. It was purchased by Piedmont Columbus Regional and then donated to the city. The sculpture is a popular photo opportunity in downtown Columbus, sitting on one of the neighborhood’s busiest corners.
The piece is also valuable, and not just as art, according to Geissler’s husband and business partner, Peter Henderson.
“Most modern bronze is 95% copper,” Henderson said. “That’s what attracts thieves. Because if you’ve seen copper prices recently, they’ve gone up dramatically. So they’ll take a $10,000 sculpture and sell it in a scrap yard for $150. Which is really sad. But they’re desperate and that’s why they’re doing it.”
“May Flower” is part of a paired set, and Geissler produced 15 pairs. The companion piece, “Puddle Jumper,” is not in Columbus, but Geissler has another work on display at the Specialized Pediatric Services entrance at Piedmont Columbus Regional.
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