Two hand-painted benches belonging to a larger outdoor public art installation have been stolen from public display in Vienna. The first, stolen in July from 512 Maple Avenue West, was titled "Spring." Artist Mary Ellyn Perkowski was inspired to create the dark floral design by a bed of tulips she had photographed at a nearby Vienna botanical garden. The second, a seaside landscape titled "Big Wave" by Viktoriya Maslova, was located at 100 Church Street NE and stolen in August. Art Center Director, Lu Cousins, says, "It's possible someone witnessed their theft and they may no longer be in the immediate area. We have been working with the Vienna Police Department to secure the remaining benches and we're hoping that anyone with information will come forward."
The Vienna Arts Society, in celebration of their 50th Anniversary, launched the "Take a Seat, Vienna!" campaign earlier this year. Forty-two Amish-built benches were purchased through sponsorships with local businesses. Each was then individually painted by various artists to highlight the charm of small-town Vienna. Benches have been on display since April and have drawn both residents and visitors to be more engaged with the community through scavenger hunts, social media campaigns, and frequent appearance in local news stories. Ken Britz, Chair of the Take a Seat, Vienna Committee, says "the benches highlight the charm and unique aspects of small town Vienna."
The remaining benches will be sold at a live auction on Nov. 2 at the Vienna Community Center; proceeds of the ticketed auction will support Vienna Arts Society outreach activities, art demonstrations, and classes.
The Vienna Arts Society, founded in the Spring of 1969, is a volunteer-run 501(c)(3) non-profit. Vienna Arts Society exists to bring together local artists to share interests, enrich their own experiences in art, and to contribute to the Vienna,community. Activities include workshops, art exhibitions, socials, scholarship programs, and philanthropic efforts. Membership includes professional artists as well as novices and is open to anyone with an interest in art. Individual artists and the program committee for the Take a Seat campaign were awarded the standing "Volunteer of the Year" award by the Town.