Santa Fe gallery owner calling sculpture vandalism a hate crime

New Mexico

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Santa Fe artists are looking for answers after a sculpture was vandalized in broad daylight.

Artist Martin Helldorfer is in disbelief after his work of art in a sculpture garden on Santa Fe’s south side was vandalized Thursday afternoon. “It is a disappointment that somebody is kind of this bothered by a prayer to the spirit,” Helldorfer said.

The sculpture in the Oshara Plaza is a massive windchime that doubles as a Native American prayer. “It used to look really nice and together, but now it has a little bit of brokenness about it,” Helldorfer said.

Neighbors found the letters strewn about the garden. They were apparently torn off with rocks from the display. “I realized not everybody appreciates the Native Americans the way I do and the way most of us in this culture do,” Helldorfer said.

Sara Miller, who created the sculpture garden in May, worries the act may be a hate crime since it was the only sculpture out of 10 in the garden to be vandalized.

“The fact that it’s the only sculpture in our entire sculpture garden that had any type of message that represented anything…” Miller said. “It was an Indian prayer, so for that to happen and to have this beautiful Native American sculpture and the same weekend Indian Market was going on was really disappointing.”

Despite the disappointment, Helldorfer is picking up the pieces and plans to get to work welding the letters on first thing in the morning. “I’m just sorry that this was defaced, but by golly, I’m going to come back and make it just like it was before,” Helldorfer said.

Helldorfer and Miller said they filed a report with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. They are also looking into getting surveillance cameras in the plaza to prevent this from happening again.

Miller said the sculpture was on sale for $2,800.

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