Guest editorial |

Guest editorial

Marv Poulson, Sculptor
Salt Lake City

I long considered Park City the only art festival worth doing in Utah. Unfortunately, over the years that notion has steadily changed as the show booth fees rose to today’s exorbitant level, crowds steadily diminished, just as Show Management has become complacent with security as evidenced by large thefts that hit several artists, including me, this year. I am afraid that greed and complacency may have overtaken due-diligence and comprehensive management when it comes to propelling The Festival into a long future.

Response by management to the thefts this year has so far been completely superficial and unhelpful. The best parts of the theft experience, if there is such a thing, were condolences from fellow artists and the quick response from Park City Police who were on scene within four minutes of my emergency call when I arrived at my booth on Sunday at 6:30 a.m.

While each artist must sign a contract that releases The Kimball Art Center from any liability for loss or damage of our work during the show, we count on Management to perform due-diligence in managing security to effectively protect our work and the physical integrity of the show. Of course this contract is an agreement between both parties and assumes each performs as agreed. I, and the other artists suffered from clearly ineffective security Sunday morning (8-14-16) when thieves struck several of us.

Statements from the “professional” CSC security people who were supposed to patrol the area of the show hardest hit, were up the street in the area of Heber Avenue when the thieves struck. This is what they told me in the presence of the Park City Police officer who responded to my emergency call at 6:31 am, that they noticed the destruction of my stone sculpture at 2:30 am but didn’t report it until our conversation with the responding officer.

My loss is a white marble stone sculpture I called “Sublime Embrace” after carving for nearly 4 months. It was not only the monetary loss of a possible $8300 sale, but the loss of a sculpture I had poured my creative skill and heart into for months, only to have it destroyed by an evil act when the thief dropped the heavy piece on the street.

I wasn’t the only artist suffering a huge loss. At least 6 others were hit, including a fine furniture maker who had an elegant rocking chair and a sitting chair stolen. In order to make off with his work, it required the thieves to have a vehicle close at hand and carry off those large pieces of furniture unnoticed from the main entrance/exit at the north end of the show.

The thefts this year might be passed off as unusual had it not been for another large theft a few years ago when 2 massive steel sculptures were stolen off the street. These pieces each weighed at least several hundred pounds and would have required either a forklift or a large team of strong men to load them onto a large enough truck or truck-trailer to drive away with them. This theft was also unnoticed. Kind of astonishing isn’t it?

My hope is that losses of my fellow artists can be at least partially remedied by the recovery of their work. Unfortunately in my case, the attempted theft of my heavy stone sculpture left it shattered on the street.

Over the 40 plus years I’ve done art shows all over the country, I’ve never had anything broken or stolen until now.

I thank my fellow artists for their kind expressions. They were far more expressive than Show Management, which is a huge disappointment. Also, I want to thank the Park City Police for their prompt and professional response.

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