Banksy vandalism: building manager ‘disgusted and saddened’
Vandals just before New Year’s struck two pieces along Main Street created by Banksy, the famous graffiti artist whose artworks have been on display since he was in Park City for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
One of the pieces, a videographer filming a flower, is on the Java Cow building. The other one, of an angel, is on a garage steps off Main Street. The Java Cow piece is Banksy’s most famous in Park City.
The Banksy piece on the garage suffered the worst damage. The vandal or vandals shattered the glass covering the image, leaving a pile of glass on ground, and then spray-painted the image of the angel with black or dark brown paint.
The vandals attempted to break the glass protecting the Java Cow piece. The glass cracked in numerous places but did not break. There are a series of impact points, approximately six of them, visible where the vandals apparently tried to break the glass with some sort of object.
The Park City Police Department received the first report at 8:36 a.m. on Dec. 31, when a passerby saw the damage to the Java Cow piece. A police officer who responded was aware of the location of the other Banksy work and went to investigate. The officer found the damaged piece on the garage, Rick Ryan, a police captain, said. There were not other reports of vandalism along Main Street that day, meaning that the Banksy pieces were the only targets, he said.
Ryan said investigators did not find physical evidence at the scene in either case. He said there is a possibility a surveillance camera captured footage of the perpetrators as they damaged the Java Cow piece.
Ryan said the owner of the garage, located at the Cunningham Building, estimates the damage to the frame and the glass at $3,000. The dollar value makes the case a felony rather than a misdemeanor, Ryan said.
Paul Piper, the Cunningham Building property manager, said there had not been vandalism targeting the Banksy piece for at least a year, indicating he is "disgusted and saddened" by the damage. He is investigating whether the spray paint can be removed from the image, which he called a "calming, peaceful piece of art to look at."
"I think it was also important to Park City. It kind of set the tone for Park City," Piper said, noting that the Banksy was seen as one of the city’s pieces of public art.
Ken Davis, the owner of Java Cow, said he is considering options for the Banksy piece. He said maintaining the artwork is a "very expensive proposition." He said he has restored the Banksy piece and installed the frame and glass, estimating he has spent approximately $10,000 to preserve the piece.
"I feel abused. I feel amazed someone would go through the lengths they went to," Davis said.
Lola Beatlebrox, a tour guide for Park City Ghost Tours, takes her groups past the Banksy angel piece on the garage as she points out the historic Washington School House Hotel nearby. She said she first saw the damage Wednesday night as she led eight people on a tour.
"My tourists were really worried and concerned . . . the vandalism to a world-renowned artist," she said.
People with information about the vandalism may contact the Police Department at 615-5500 or the department’s anonymous-tip line, 615-5847. The department also operates an online tip form. The address is:
Ryan said the owner of the Cunningham Building has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for the vandalism.
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Park City leaders are scheduled to receive a briefing from the Summit County health director about the state of the novel coronavirus. Phil Bondurant’s appearance at a Park City Council meeting is slated less than two months before the scheduled opening of the ski season.