By Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The famous “Love” statue and other works of public art in Philadelphia apparently need a little more love. City Council this week will decide whether to boost the penalties against skateboarders and others who do damage the art.
The city’s Chief Cultural Officer, Gary Steuer, says his office is constantly grappling with damage to the Love statue, “which gets hit by graffiti, by people putting stickers on it. And we have similar problems with lots of public art around the city, as well as monuments.”
Also hit hard by skateboarders was Claes Oldenburg’s “Paint Torch” sculpture outside the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.
“They had a serious problem with damage building up to the work of art, as a result of repeated attempts by skateboarders to use it as a skateboarding object.”
So the Nutter Administration is seeking final City Council approval this week of a bill that ramps up the penalties facing skateboarders and others who damage public art. Penalties would go from $300 in the current law to $2,000 and up to 90 days of jail time.
Some on council wonder if it’ll make a difference with lax enforcement, but Steuer believes the higher penalties will be a deterrent.
“Our hope is that it would cause some folks to sort of think twice, because they realize that there are some real teeth here now, and that they really could get into some serious trouble.”