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Painter Mindy Weisel spent more than a week in her Georgetown studio painting her elephant. Using layer after layer of bright cobalt, deep indigo, and plain navy blue, among other shades of blue, Weisel slathered enough paint on her Party Animal, she says, to cover the exterior of a house. When she was finished, she titled it Blue.
All that paint was not enough to protect Blue from what Weisel calls the “massacre” of Aug. 16. Sometime in the early hours of that Friday morning, someone attacked the statue at its site near 30th and R Streets NW, by the entrance of Montrose Park. Using what police believe was a crowbar or baseball bat, the perpetrators ripped the elephant’s ears off, gouged its eyes, and amputated its snout. They also turned the weapon on the pachyderm’s legs and back, leaving gaping white holes.
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A jogger found the trail of elephant parts that morning and later alerted the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Officials there say that it’s the worst act of vandalism against a Party Animal so far this summer, even worse than a donkey that had its snout ripped off a few weeks ago by a pair of club-toting youths who escaped in an SUV.
Last week, the commission established a $5,000 reward for information in the case, hoping to find and convict the assailants.
That move has provided little solace to Weisel, who says she just wants her elephant put out of its misery. Damaged beyond repair, it still sits, gashed and disfigured and smiling, in front of Montrose Park.
“It makes me sick. I just can’t understand why anyone would do this,” Weisel says. “If an elephant that wasn’t hurting anyone isn’t safe, what does that say about the city we live in? Or even the times we live in? It’s just sick.”
Weisel says she’s asked the arts commission to remove the elephant, as it has other damaged Party Animals. But as of last weekend, her requests hadn’t been met. “It’s scaring little kids,” Weisel says. —Holly Bailey
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