Friday, July 15, 2005

Missing installation art pieces retrieved

Express Staff Writer

The Thom Ross sculptures that were stolen two weeks ago from the Festival Meadows in Sun Valley have been returned, Carrie Molter, manager of Kneeland Gallery in Ketchum, reported Wednesday.

The sculpture installation depicting Custer's Last Stand at the Battle of the Little Big Horn was in the field the last week of June and was unprotected for a night. The Kneeland Gallery had leased the land on Sun Valley Road from the city of Sun Valley for the multi-piece installation.

The artist, Ross, was staying in a hotel and discovered one piece, "American Horse," missing the morning of Saturday, July 1.

Another piece, that a mover thought he had already packed it when the artist's team departed for Jackson, Wyo., for another installation, was taken as well.

Two teenage girls returned the pieces to the Sun Valley Police Station on Tuesday, July 12. They claimed friends of theirs, two boys under age 18, had taken the pieces, but became afraid when there was press on the theft and a reward offered by Kneeland, Molter said.

The girls returned the pieces for the alleged thieves but wouldn't take the $500 reward. They also wouldn't leave their names. According to Molter, they said they just wanted to return the art pieces back to the rightful owner.

Instead, Kneeland is donating the $500 reward to a ranch-hand youth program offered by Sagebrush Arena, north of Hailey.

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