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Art Is Not For the Taking

Letter to the Editor

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I couldn't sleep last night. Not for worry of the economy, the oil spill, our government or other weighty subjects - though those are all worthy of insomnia. I couldn't sleep last night because my husband, Tom, had an art reception for a showing of his paintings at a downtown establishment and something went wrong.

We love the artistic embrace of this community, as evidenced by the many businesses hosting art, galleries and art hops. But when we arrived to set up the reception, we noticed one of his smaller original paintings was missing. At first there was joy and recognition that it had sold. But that turned to disappointment when the shop worker confirmed nothing had yet sold. His painting had been stolen. It is heartbreaking to me that someone would not value art enough to know that a $300 painting is hours of labor and craftsmanship and that it may be the artist's only financial support.

I wonder if the person might have thought longer about stealing a TV, a $300 necklace, or $300 worth of CDs. To the artist, it is no less valuable and perhaps more so because being an artist is a labor of love and the work is irreplaceable.

People have said we should be proud because someone liked the piece enough to steal it. It does not feel like a moment for pride, especially in a community which values art. It seems like a moment of disappointment, sadness and heart-wrenching ache as we cannot replace or sell that painting now.

While I appreciate their sentiment, I would rather tell the person who stole his painting that he is a thief of a moment of beauty, created from the heart by an artist struggling to financially help support a family and to share something of his soul with others. And I would like to tell the person that I hope he inherits my sleeplessness from last night for his actions.

- Pamela Norr

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