On August 29, as near as anyone can tell, six trees at the North Main Music Park lost their crochet art covering. It’s a mystery who removed the art or why.
“I don’t know why anyone would cut down art,” crochet artist Gina Gallina said. “We just drove by and the trees were naked. I thought I was hallucinating.”
The crochet art was originally created for the City of Eureka Springs for an Art of Crochet Festival in May 2016 at Basin Park. After they were displayed there, they were taken down and Gallina donated them to the North Main Music Park. She and others installed them at Thanksgiving 2016.
Gallina said perhaps someone didn’t like the crochet art. But they were very popular with visitors who could often be seen stopping to hug the trees or photograph them.
“Maybe they were nature lovers who thought the crochet was killing the trees,” Gallina speculates. “But they don’t hurt the trees. Crochet art is made from acrylic yarn that breathes. The color fades, but the yarn is not harmful.”
But if it was a nature lover, they didn’t know trees, as the trees are box elders, so common and weedy that most people consider them trash trees.
Did someone need a blanket? Gallina said that’s possible, but it would have been a lot of work to make a blanket out of the pieces. And from remnants left at the park, it looks like the thieves just carelessly tore them down.
“We think they just shredded them,” Gallina said. “It would have been hard to see the seams. I’m just curious to where they are. That is like carrying seven big afghans. They are bulky, and heavy as the dickens. The way they cut them down, it will be useless for them unless they do a lot of repairs.”
Maybe it was just someone being disrespectful? They don’t like crochet art? Gallina said whoever removed the work could have made a statement another way if that was the case. She would have been willing to talk to anyone who didn’t like the crocheted trees.
Gallina asked the garbage collectors to keep out an eye for them, but nothing has shown up.
“Crochet makes people happy,” Gallina said. “It’s soft. It’s colorful. It’s fun. And it’s just having its time right now like it did in the sixties. Everything is temporary. It is likely a fad that will go away in time.”
One thing she is sure of – “Whoever did it is just mean. I just want to know where they are. Those took a lot of hours of work to make and were paid for with city money.”
When Gallina posted about the theft on Facebook, many people responded with disappointment about the artwork being gone. And a lot of crocheters wrote and said they would help recreate the artwork.
“This winter we will get together and crochet for the trees,” Gallina said. “I have some yarn to donate and others will donate. I’m thinking of crocheting little eyes to the trees like they are watching you. I think that would be a fun and a good reason to have a party.”
The Eureka Springs Police Department report valued the art at $300 for each tree, a total of $1,800.
The North Main Music Park has also seen vandalism of the outdoor musical instrument sculptures. A city spokesperson said that plans are being made to install security cameras at the park.