GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — At the first weekend of ArtPrize beautiful weather brought out large crowds. But it wasn't a joyful weekend for everyone, after some art installations were vandalized.
It's a noise you don't hear in the city.
"It puts a smile on people's face," says Mary Seger, an ArtPrize entrant. "And it just brings happiness."
Not the usual car horns or construction sounds. This one is a noise meant for joy.
"This piece is called A Joyful Noise," says Seger, the artwork's creator. "The original intent is to walk through and make the chimes sing."
The display, usually with 140 chimes on it, is a labor of love for Seger.
"It's a great stress reliever to sit out there with my anvil with a big hammer and pound metal on it," she says.
It took thousands of hours to create, eight months in total, but only one night to bring that joyful noise clattering to a halt.
"I'm disappointed, I'm angry," says Seger.
Thirty of Seger's 140 handmade chimes had parts broken off last week and 12 were stolen off the hooks.
"I'm trying to create happiness for other people, says Seger. "And then it's all disrespected."
And she isn't the only artist facing vandalism. Needs More Dinosaurs, by artist Bex Takacs-Britz, was also vandalized.
"That same night where I had the most of mine stolen, that same night they steal three dinosaurs off of her piece," says Seger.
When she asked Grand Rapids Police what to do, they suggested taking it down when she leaves for the night or hiring private help.
"I can't afford to hire a security guard out here at night," says Seger.
She says ArtPrize organizers originally offered no solution either.
"I get apologies, sorry this happened," says Seger. "Oh, I'm so sorry. And that's about all."
When we talked to an ArtPrize spokesperson, they offered to move her display to the Oasis, an event venue that has 24-hour security.
Seger appreciates the help, because if she can't safely leave her art outside, ArtPrize may never hear that joyful noise again.
"If it weren't for us, ArtPrize wouldn't be here," says Seger. "And if we all leave, there will not be ArtPrize anymore."
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