Fountain Vandalized in Downtown GSO
Greensboro’s shortest river stopped running Thursday morning after workmen discovered that thrill-seeking vandals had dismantled an alleyway fountain built by local artist Erik Beerbower.
The workmen found three concrete forms that once carried cascades of water broken loose from their moorings and hundreds of gallons of water overflowing from the fountain’s busted plumbing. A pair of metal praying mantises were tossed in the fountain’s pool.
Beerbower said the workmen turned off the water when they discovered the plumbing was busted.
He suspects that sometime late in the evening of June 1 or early in the morning of June 2 a skateboarder hopped over the wrought-iron gate and tried to run up the forms.
‘“My suspicion is that someone tried to run up them and skateboard down,’” he said. ‘“I think they probably busted their ass pretty good. They hopped the fence and they threw the sculptures in the pond. It’s kind of like a miniature version of ‘Fear Factor.””
Beerbower added that he doesn’t think the vandalism was motivated by malice.
‘“What would anybody have to gain by doing that besides showing off for your friends?’” he asked. ‘“You’re not going to have a crackhead do that. You’re not going to have a gang member do that because they would have spray painted it.’”
The 200-pound concrete forms are secured by universal vises designed to allow them to swivel in all directions. The top form is now jutting straight into the air instead of setting at a 45-degree incline as it was intended.
‘“That’s an eighteen-foot fall,’” the artist noted. ‘“The first thing I did was look under it to see if there was still somebody down there.’”
Beerbower estimates that repairing the damage will cost $500 to $600, including labor and replacing a burned-out pump.
Immediately after filing a police report, Beerbower created a batch of fliers that read, ‘Wanted: For Disrespecting the Arts,’ and posted them in area businesses. He said that within 10 minutes downtown business owners had chipped in $250 for reward money to help determine who is responsible for the vandalism.
‘“I’m looking for someone who wants to snitch on their friends, to be real blunt,’” he said. ‘“I’ll end up finding out who it is. There’s a lot of lines of communication open. Their friends are going to tell because it’s meant to be a story.’”
– Jordan Green