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Artist, crew to recreate, replace bronze deer
In August thieves sawed through the deer's legs and stole it, leaving behind four hooves to testify that the bronze art piece, "The Long Look", had ever graced Centennial Park across from Mountain View Cemetery.
Efforts to find the perps and get the piece back went nowhere.
Now the City of Auburn has commissioned the original artist, Brad Rude, to recreate the popular work, restoring its to its perch atop the log at the park across the road from the cemetery and its watch over the valley floor.
City workers set things in motion Tuesday morning by removing the metal log with the hooves attached.
Majia McKnight, arts coordinator for Auburn's Parks, Arts and Recreation Department, said the piece was insured, as are all art works on public display in the city.
"We're working with the artist to determine when he will be able to come out here. He'll take the log portion, which was secured in the concrete, back to his studio where he will recreate, not exactly the same piece, but close. It should be ready by the spring of next year."
The City will shift the location to ensure better visibility from the road and put in place unspecified security measures to deter future thievery and vandalism.
Before the recent act of vandalism and theft, "The Long Look" had survived previous attacks, the most recent in 2005.
The City responded on that occasion by welding the legs back on and putting "extra heft" in them. Staff at that time also cut back bushes that had blocked the sight of the park from road.
Theft, McKnight conceded, is always a concern with the City's public art pieces.
"It's in the public sphere, and part of the joy is it's out there where anyone can access it. At the same time, the danger is we can't protect it, can't put it under lock and key. Our maintenance program checks in on them regularly to make sure everything is OK."
The Auburn Arts Commission originally commissioned the work in 1992 from Rude, an artist affiliated with the Walla Walla Foundry.