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Rye Art Center Still Searching for Missing Sculpture

RYE, N.Y. - A sculpture exhibited on Purchase Street in front of the Rye Mall that was first reported missing over the Memorial Day weekend has not yet been found. The sculpture is one of 15 sculptures on public display as part of the Rye Arts Center's exhibit, Beyond Rodin: New Direction in Contemporary Figurative Sculpture .

RAC Executive Director Helen Gates said that a Wednesday morning phone call to Rye Police Commissioner William Connors seeking an update yielded no information. Gates added that Police told her they are searching through video surveillance footage from surrounding banks and businesses, in hopes of finding the culprit.

"Any time an artist puts his or her piece in a public space, there is always concern that there will be vandalism or theft," Gates said. "There was some measure of comfort (in Rye) that the sculpture would be fine. To have this happen is a tragedy."

The exhibit, which opened both on the streets and in the RAC gallery on May 6, features the work of twenty sculptures from around the country; it has been displayed in New York City, Los Angeles, and Florida. The sculptures will be taken down June 16.

"We are just hoping to get the piece recovered," Gates said. "It's not like it’s a street sign. This is a piece of work that someone put their heart and soul into. This is the artist's livelihood ,and it’s a shame."

Gates said that the sculptures on display on Purchase street and inside the RAC gallery are available for purchase, with proceeds going to both the nonprofit RAC and the artist.

There is a bright side, however, for the exhibit. It has garnered attention for the RAC from the greater Westchester community and beyond. Gates said that people have come from all over to view the sculptures, and that on June 3, the exhibit was featured in the Metropolitan section of the New York Times.

"People from outside our community are coming to the Art Center and the downtown, so it's been fulfilling its mission," Gates said. "When the public art goes away, I think people will sense that loss and feel that gap in the downtown. Despite all that's happened, I would certainly do it again."

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