Missing: An elk, about 10 feet tall, weighing between 800 and 1,000 pounds.
The rusted metal sculpture, which was part of an art exhibition, has been stolen from the lawn of the Tryon Inn, Jane Sapinsky, executive director of Cherry Valley Artworks, said Tuesday.
“In Cherry Valley, you don’t expect things like this to happen,” she said. “It’s been very shocking to all of us.”
Wendy Klemperer, an artist who works with salvaged metals, created the figure of a calling elk, according to Sapinsky who said she reported the theft to state police at Richfield Springs on Monday.
The elk was part of a “sculpture trail” exhibition of 24 pieces displayed in Cherry Valley from June through September 2012, Sapinsky said. Cherry Valley Artworks presents a sculpture show about every other year, she said.
Klemperer brought the piece to the area in parts and welded the sculpture together on-site at the inn, Sapinsky said, and a crane from a local business helped erect the work.
“It was a beautiful, beautiful piece,” Sapinsky said.” Everybody loved it — it was probably the most popular work on the sculpture trail.”
Klemperer offered to leave the piece after the show ended if the inn owner agreed, Sapinsky said. She found out about the theft Saturday and held a “slim hope” that perhaps the artist had arranged for it to be picked up.
But the elk’s absence was bad news to the artist, who said she reacted with shock and disbelief.
Klemperer, who works in Brooklyn and Keene, N.H., said the stolen elk sculpture measures about 10-by-10-by-4 feet and weighs about 800 to 1,000 pounds. She told troopers the estimated value was about $20,000.
The date of the theft isn’t known but may have been about a week ago, Sapinksy said. The theft must have been well-planned because of the size and weight of the work, she said.