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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Sept. 28, 2000)
Sheldon Sculpture Garden becomes a
target of random destruction story ; sarah jaker
-m I ^-1
The Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery's Sculpture
Garden has always been a place of study for stu
dents, of perusal for art aficionados and of curiosity
to visitors in every season. But, in the past few years,
it’s also become a target for pricey vandalism.
The most recent vandalism, earlier this month,
was to a retaining wall around the “Willy’’ sculpture
near Westbrook Music Building. Several stones
were ripped off the wall, totaling about $5,000
worth of damage - which adds to the string of
equally expensive vandalism.
Enough so that the museum plans to imple
i ment, over the next few years, a security system for
the outdoor art in the Sculpture Garden.
"We have a problem with vandalism in the
i sculpture garden,” Sheldon Curator Dan Siedell
said. “We have to figure out ways to secure the
sculptures without inhibiting interaction. That’s a
Just what the new system will be is still up in the
air, Sheldon Director Janice Driesbach said.
"We’re looking at the outdoor sculpture security
issue from many points,” Driesbach said. “Other
communities and cities that have strong public art
programs have these same challenges.”
Security ideas under consideration include
installation of lights, landscaping revisions and sur
Driesbach also wants to strengthen art educa
tion for the campus through more in-depth label
ing on the outdoor works and frequent Sculpture
Garden tours and events.
She plans to work with UNL Landscape Services
to install lights and consider landscaping options to
deter would-be vandals.
Robert Hensarling, director of Landscape
Services, said som£ minor things could heighten
security, such as trimming shrubs and trees and
installing motion-sensitive lights.
“It’s dark - very dark - out there and to have light
would create a safer atmosphere,” he said.
Siedell said surveillance cameras, one viable
option, could provide its own share of problems.
“We’d have to have the staff to man those cam
eras,” he said. “And there’s always the question of
who’s paying for it.”
Creating the outdoor security system requires
the updating of the indoor security system at the
The two security systems would be one part of
the Sheldon’s work to regain its full accreditation
from the American Association of Museums, which
put the Sheldon on probation earlier this month.
"The new (outdoor) system will definitely coor
dinate with the existing (indoor) system,” he said.
“It could mean total replacement of the system
already inside the gallery. Cameras are a whole sys
tem, and we could be looking at six figures at least.”
But while six figures seems a lot to spend, the
vandalism itself poses a hefty price tag of its own.
In October 1999, vandals smeared pizza sauce
across the face of “Fallen Dreamer,” a large bronze
head sculpture. The damage totaled between
$4,000 and $10,000, and has yet to be repaired. The
Pi in the Open Air,” Vandals smeared pizza sauce on the A set of 10 black balustrades designed by In three separate incidents, 12 marble
ise and later recovered “Fallen Dreamer,” a sculpture of a large louis H. Sullivan, that were originally part panels were pried off the top of a wall
ter Nebraska’s victory bronze head located between the Sheldon of the Carson Pierie Scott building built in surrounding the popular Tony Smith
. The sculpture was and Architecture Hall. Acid in the pizza Chicago in 1899, are vandalized. sculpture, “Willy,” located in front of the
Idon in early 2000 and sauce ate through the sculpture’s outside TThe top half of one of the balustrades was Westbrook Music Hall. The panels were
iside the gallery. The patina, a finished layer that protects the u broken off by vandals on Sunday, smashed on the sidewalk. The sculpture, a
ars to complete and bronze sculpture from weathering. The November 29. The bottom half of the same popular place for students to hang out
. The sculpture will not sauce ate through an estimated 20 square! balustrade was bent in. The cost of the between classes, is surrounded by the 3
ars again. inches on the sculpture’s ear, eyes, lips vandalism was estimated at several foot wall made of travertine marble, the
and nose. The sculpture also had deep hundred dollars, and the piece was same Italian stone the Sheldon building is
scratches in the face’s lower lip, which repaired over the next few months. made of. The damage was estimated at
were not reported before, but could not be about $5,000 and has not yet been fixed,
blamed on the vandalism. Repairing the
sculpture, which was acquired by the art
gallery last year for an undisclosed
: "amount, would cost between $4,000 and
———------ ---— .... —......— —— - --- I
Manna All, 7, plays
by Tony Smith, in
front of Westbrook
Recently the mar
ble wall was par
tially destroyed by
vandals, said Jan
of Sheldon Art
damage occurred on a Husker gameday.
In January 1998, another sculpture, “Man in the
Open Air,” was ripped off its base and later found on
East Campus. The vandalism, which happened
during a night of mayhem on campus after
Nebraska’s Orange Bowl win, totaled $15,000.
Another consideration, Siedell said, was mov
ing sculptures out of the garden.
The sculptures would be placed on other areas
of campus and replaced with works that are less flat
in nature, therefore deterring skateboarders, bikers
and in-line skaters from “grinding” across the sur
faces while doing tricks.
Siedell said sculptures in other areas of the cam
pus don’t get vandalized as often or in the same
ways as the ones in the Sculpture Garden.
Siedell said the tall, circular bronze sculpture
near Andrews Hall, a piece done by artist Richard
Serra, gets marred with graffiti often. But, he said,
the scribbles can be cleaned off.
While protecting the works is important, Siedell
said he didn't want the security measures to stop
people from visiting the Garden.“We don't wemt to
erect a fence and have an armed guard out there
declaring the value of the objects,” he said. “We
don’t want this to mean that people can’t sit on or
touch the sculptures. That’s what we have them
Instead, he said he hoped the new security sys
tem would deter those who had destructive ideas.
“We have to be realistic - we know there is
always, no matter what, going to be the temptation
to do damaging things.”
Actress creates play out of memories of segregation
BY BRIAN CHRISTOPHERSON
Forty years ago, six years after the
widely recognizable Brown v. Board of
Education case, the Shanks family
moved into the lion’s den.
Except in their case, it seems the
lion didn’t know who it was up
The black family of five moved
from Denver to Kansas City, Kan., sit
uated just below the Mason-Dixon
line, which left them open to racial
Nena St. Louis was in sixth grade
at the time, and she can recall those
racist-filled years of growing up as a
member of the Shanks family, a fami
ly that became thunderous voices in
the Civil Rights movement
And now she wants to share her
memories and take an audience back
into America’s not-so-lovely past in a
play she recently created titled
St. Louis will perform her one
woman show at the Lincoln
Community Playhouse on Saturday
at 8 p.m. and on Sunday at 3 p.m.
The play is a cooperative produc
tion between the Lincoln Community
Playhouse and the Artists Diversity
Residency Program at UNL
St. Louis is an artist in the
Residency Program, a former
University of Nebraska-Lincoln stu
dent and is excited about performing
her play in the state she once called
“My mother and I are the main
characters in the play,” St. Louis said.
“It’s told from a child’s point of view,
and it’s actually funny through much
A play about racism can be funny?
“Even though times were difficult,
things were still funny," she said. “I
was growing up and humans are
inherently funny, so it has to have
Excuse St. Louis if she is a little
The San Francisco resident spent
some of her childhood living in
Nebraska, and her mother, Lela
Shanks, still resides in Lincoln and
plans to see her daughter’s play about
“It will be the first time my mother
has ever seen the play,” St. Louis said.
Although, it will be Lela Shanks’
first time seeing the play, she’ll recog
nize it from introduction to conclu
It was Lela Shanks and her late
husband, Hughes, who fought the
Kansas school board to desegregate
schools below the Mason-Dixon line.
“Initially, the state went to a segre
gated school there and thought that
was going to be OK,” St. Louis said.
“My parents did not think that was OK
So the Shanks and some other
upset parents sued the state, with
their case eventually being included
as part of the Downs v. Board of
Eventually desegregated schools
slowly worked their way into the
Shanks’ town, but St. Louis said the
state tried to limit the amount of
blacks that could attend and vividly
remembered protesting it in the 1962
63 school year.
The Shanks also protested in their
So Lela Shanks had her children,
Cedric, Shela and Nena go to school in
the morning, but she taught them in
“The city brought truancy charges
against my parents, and even black
ministers were scared to let my par
ents speak in church because they
were afraid of what we were doing,” St.
The Shanks did not stop preach
ing the message of equality when they
moved to Nebraska.
“I remember that my parents
made it a point to take us out-state,”
St. Louis said. “I remember sleeping in
farm-houses, and we talked to the
people about issues.”
Now, St. Louis uses her play to tell
Although, sometimes, people
don’t like to remember the dismal
“I am performing this play in
schools, and one of the little fifth
grade girls told her teacher, ‘I don’t
want to talk about it. It’s too sad,”’ St.
< Where: Lincoln
2500 S. 56th
-C When: Sat. @ 8 p.m.
Sun. @ 3 p.m.
Sad or not, she said the message
could get through to all people.
"It’s not just about blacks and
whites. It’s about everybody,” St. Louis
said. “A white man can walk into an
office and have an Asian man heading
a job. He might have no experience in
relating to people of a different back
But as she travels around telling
her story, she sees a society becoming
St. Louis relayed a story about her
plane flight to Lincoln and a conver
sation she had with an Asian man
about possible profiling of Asians in
"When an Asian person asks if I
can relate to his experiences, that says
something to me,” St. Louis said. “It
might only be a start, but that’s way
better than things used to be.”
Nena St. Louis rehearses for her one-woman playschools!" on
Wednesday at the Lincoln Community Playhouse. Her play tells an
autobiographical story of growing up in Kansas City, Kan., during
desegregation. She will perform at the playhouse Saturday and
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