By Hannah Cruz
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — The 200-pound plaster duck known as “Samo Ducky,” located near the Firehouse Art Center, 444 S. Flood Ave. in Lions Park, has been reported missing, FAC Executive Director Douglas Shaw Elder said.
A police report was filed 10:24 a.m. Thursday, Norman Police Department Captain Tom Easley said.
The incident is currently under investigation.
“Samo,” 44-inch sculpture created in 2010 and painted to look like a rubber ducky, is the original sculpture by Elder that inspired Norman Public Arts Board’s Duck Project.
Since July 2012, 12 fiberglass reproductions, painted with different designs by local artists, have been installed in 10 local parks.
The original plaster duck was not bolted down, Elder said, but all fiberglass sculptures are bolted onto a cement pad and are impossible to steal.
“I should have bolted it down sooner,” Elder said. “I have a real trust for our community and their appreciation for art. I just never would have thought this would happen.”
Because of wear and tear, Elder said a fiberglass duck was ordered to replace the plaster duck before it was stolen.
The replacement will cost $2,000. Though Elder said he is unable to estimate the cost of the original plaster duck, the replacement cost would qualify the theft as grand larceny. Under Oklahoma state statutes, grand larceny is the theft of property exceeding $500.
Elder said he imagines this was done as a harmless prank and he isn’t worried about future retaliation or problems with other duck sculptures. He hopes to get the original back for sentimental reasons and for display during special events.
The fiberglass replacement will be installed in a few weeks, Elder said.
“My hope is we can recover the duck and maybe we can use this as an exercise to get the community to understand there are people who work very hard to work with Parks and Recreation, Public Arts Board, Norman Arts Council and Firehouse Art Center to bring arts to the community and this particular one for the kids,” Elder said. “We need the community’s assistance to help us take care of these sculptures, and that will be a good thing.
“It’s sad, but I never want to think that people are trying to do us harm. I think someone just wasn’t thinking very clearly. I hope it has a good home.”
The project began in 2010 as a FAC initiative, with the idea of creating and installing sculptures that encourage creativity from the viewers and users of the park.
Ducks are currently installed at Reaves, Andrews, Colonial Estates, Rotary, Eastwood, Lions Memorial, Centennial, Castlerock and Tull parks. Elder said the goal is to install 27 duck sculptures in every children’s parks in the community.
Though future vandalism can’t be guaranteed to be prevented, Elder said the sculptures are a worthwhile venture that improve the appeal of local parks and make art more accessible to children.
“My personal feeling, as the person who sculpted the original and donated it to the city, I just want to see the ducks out there for the kids,” he said. “(The sculptures) seem to be like magnets — the children gravitate toward them, so I know it was a success and I’d like to see every child in Norman have that opportunity at their park.”
PAB, on behalf of Norman Arts Council and the city of Norman, is seeking artists to paint the next round of three ducks to be installed in parks. Proposals are due by 4 p.m. May 23. For more information, visit normanarts.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject line “PAB.”
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