Group of children as young as 8 badly vandalizes artists’ workspace in central New York, some artwork

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Utica, NY – An art center in Utica was robbed and vandalized between Friday and Sunday by a group of five young children, police said this week.

The five children – aged 8 to 11 – have been charged with breaking and entering and causing substantial damage to Sculpture Space, 12 Gates Road, according to a Utica police press release.

Sculpture Space, an artist collective that offers 20 fully-funded annual residencies for artists, has been “devastated by vandalism,” according to a press release from the art center.

The vandals used paint, torches, hammers and other studio items to vandalize the space, Sculpture Space officials said.

All interior and exterior windows were broken. The main office, kitchen and bathrooms were all badly damaged.

The space was filled with broken glass, broken furniture and graffiti, they said.

The children also destroyed several works of art donated for a charity auction, they said. They are still working to assess the extent of the damage.

Sculpture Space, an artist collective in Utica, was badly vandalized over the weekend. (Photo provided)

The vandals also stole several hundred dollars, antique bicycles and other property, police said.

On Sunday, Utica police were responding to reports that several children threw rocks at cars, causing extensive damage, at a local auto repair business on Oriskany Street, police said.

Officers quickly noticed that there were several antique bicycles near the cars, police said. The children also had paint on their shoes matching spilled paint at Sculpture Space, police said.

After further investigation, police charged the group of five children, ranging in age from 8 to 11, with the burglary of Sculpture Space and the destruction of the repair shop, police said.

The children were each charged with the following:

  • Third degree burglary
  • petty larceny
  • Two counts of criminal mischief
  • Criminal possession of stolen property

All of the children were issued court appearance tickets and released, police said. The charges could be increased due to the extent of the damage, police said.

Sculpture Space has launched a vandalism recovery fund so the space can be fully operational by September 24 for their CHAIRity art auction and launch party, according to the art center.

Editor Anne Hayes covers breaking news, crime and public safety. Any advice, an idea for an article, a question or a comment? You can reach her at [email protected].

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