Newton Booth’s “Community” Sculpture Vandalized


Neighbors coming home from Thanksgiving who happened to go by the intersection of 26th and S Streets last weekend, were in for an unpleasant sight.  At some time before the morning of Saturday, November 26, the metal sculpture inside the 26th & S traffic circle, a piece called “Community,” had been vandalized–apparently by a driver who managed to drive over the entire traffic circle.

The sculpture, created by Sacramento artist Kristen Hoard, is a symbol of the Newton Booth neighborhood, and (as far as we know) is the only art piece in Sacramento made to decorate a traffic circle.  The circle, in the center of the intersection, creates a small “roundabout” and was intended as part of the city’s traffic calming program.

Originally, the sculpture had four metal human-like figures facing each other, mounted into the dirt in the circle on small concrete stands.  Whoever vandalized the art piece somehow managed to knock over two of the standing figures.  Judging by the direction the two fallen figures were laying, it can be inferred that whatever drove over the traffic circle was traveling south on 26th Street, going towards T Street:

The uprooted concrete stand for the metal figure on the south end of the traffic circle. The metal figure was pushed over so violently that it was driven into the ground.

Was this a case of drunk driving?  A speeding truck of enormous size with an oblivious driver?  No witnesses that we know of have come forward, and even the general time of day of the incident is not known.

What is known is that speeding drivers on our neighborhood streets have become an increasing problem.  26th Street is a direct line to the freeway and to Broadway; and perhaps some foolish driver with too much to drink, or distracted (maybe with a cell phone call or a text message?), barrelled down the street late Friday night or early Saturday morning, unconcerned about the neighborhood sculpture in front of him or her.  The problem of speeding, careless drivers passing through the neighborhood is not limited to this incident:  One of the new traffic-calming islands at 23rd and T Streets was reportedly hit by a driver in the past couple of weeks.

Also, it is a bit chilling to note that the human-like figures in the sculpture, run over by a careless driver, look not unlike actual people sprawled on the ground.  I mention this in order to remind everyone reading this, that an accident can happen to pedestrians anytime, day or night–so please be careful crossing the street, and watch out for bad drivers.  Don’t assume a driver will stop for you.  And drivers, please be aware of your surroundings at all times, drive at posted speeds, and brake for pedestrians and cyclists.

The good news is that this neighborhood has a lot of people who care about our community–and our “Community” art piece–and we will be working to fix what was done.  In the weeks to come, the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association will be working with the City of Sacramento, and with Kristen Hoard, to figure out the next steps to restoring the sculpture.  Might a small, friendly neighborhood fund-raiser perhaps be in the works?  We’ll keep you posted.  In the meantime, please walk, cycle and drive safely…here in the neighborhood, and everywhere you go.


2 Responses to “Newton Booth’s “Community” Sculpture Vandalized”

  1. Bill Robertson Says:

    Nice article, Dairl, with many good points made. The NBNA has been in communication with Kristen Hoard, the artist, Rob Fong’s office, and Debb Newton of the city’s Neighborhood Traffic Management Program. The repair will require a bit of finessing, since the original arrangement was that Kristen donated the art piece to the city and it is technically speaking the property of the city. But in her MOU with the city stipulated that they would not be obligated to repair the art work should it be damaged. The NBNA will have to sort this out. But it will be fixed!

  2. Olga Mandrussow Says:

    I echo Bill’s compliment, above, about your writing, Dairl. Thanks for bringing the issue to everyone’s attention. Perhaps the two damaged pieces can be permanently removed instead of reinstalled. That might be the best solution for everyone.

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