The Spoonbridge and Cherry, a Minnesota icon in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, was vandalized on April 21 with the word Kony spray painted in black in the middle of the spoon.
Joseph Kony is the leader of a rebel group in Uganda and a war criminal. He’s accused of abducting children and turning them into soldiers and sex slaves.
An Invisible Children video went viral this spring, and the video makers encouraged people to go out and draw attention to Kony. But the Invisible Children Group also warned against vandalism.
“Vandalism is lazy and hurts the cause, so your challenge is to keep it legal and go as big as you can,” the website kony2012.com warned.
Ryan French, a spokesman for the Walker Art Museum, said Walker staff noticed about 10 people in the park in the early morning hours of April 21.
“We saw people entering the garden, and per our protocol, we warned them over our P.A. system that the garden is closed, please leave.”
Once police arrived and the park was cleared, French said staff was unaware of what had been done because it was dark out. The next morning, graffiti was found on the Spoonbridge sculpture as well as two smaller sculptures with a similar message.
By the following Monday afternoon, April 23, Walker conservators had cleaned the sculptures.
French said at press time that police were still investigating the incident.
French said this wasn’t the first act of vandalism in the Sculpture Garden, but he said it was likely the most significant, as the vandals hit the most popular icon in the Twin Cities.
The Spoonbridge and Cherry sculpture was completed in 1988 by Claes Oldenburg. It was a gift from Fredrick Weisman to his parents, William and Mary.
According to the U.S. Government, Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army has forced over 66,000 children to join the force.
Facing a resolution that would put an end to their campout on Peavy Plaza, OccupyMN protesters will have until at least early May to continue their around-the-clock occupation of the city-owned property.
Council President Barb Johnson (Ward 4) on April 13 introduced a resolution that would establish rules against camping on a public plaza in the city.
Gary Schiff (Ward 9) made a substitute motion to refer the resolution to the Public Safety, Civil Rights and Health Committee for a public hearing. His motion passed 11-2.
The hearing was originally scheduled for April 18, but due to a notification error was bumped back to May 2.
With Occupiers expecting a fight on April 18, the Public Safety Committee chair Don Samuels let about a dozen protesters speak to the committee.
“What you’re trying to do is restrict our ability to peaceably assemble,” said Osha Karow of OccupyMN.
Betsy Hodges (Ward 13) has supported OccupyMN since its early days, authoring a resolution at the City Council last fall to support the movement.
“I think that this resolution is a solution in search for a problem,” Hodges said. “This is unnecessarily divisive and unnecessarily oppressive at a time when we all need to be working together on a solution of values we all share.”
Johnson said her resolution addresses a livability issue.
“I’m concerned about public use in a city where we have 380,000 people that live here, 150,000 that work in our downtown every day, and 32,000 people that live in our downtown,” Johnson said. “When you have a city, you have to balance the interests of groups.”
Reach Nick Halter at firstname.lastname@example.org.