MANKATO — Tess is on her way back to Mankato.
The sculpture of an elderly woman carrying a basket of wheat was vandalized in early June, but should be back this week at the corner of Second and Main streets.
The delay came because the wheat, broken off by a vandal, was re-cast in bronze at the foundry used by the New York artist, Susan Geissler. “Tess” was also cleaned and its scarf and apron painted.
“She should be in very good shape when she gets there and happy to be in your town,” Geissler said.
The length of time a work in the CityArt Walking Sculpture Tour takes to be repaired depends in part on the nature of the damage — and on where it’s fixed.
When someone broke a bird’s toe from “Cattails,” also in early June, it took just a day to fix.
Kasota artist David Hyduke was hired — the tour’s organizers carry insurance on the sculptures — and the sculpture was brought from Belgrade Avenue to his foundry.
“I fooled around with it for a good part of a day,” he said. “Once you start welding, the patina (the coloration) gets affected so you have to sand that back and try to match it with the original.”
Hyduke has his own sculpture in the tour, “Tiny Dancer,” across from the North Mankato Post Office.
He said higher metal prices have led to more thefts.
“It might be that someone was trying to break a piece off (“Cattails”) just for the metal,” he said. “It’s kind of a discouraging thing.”
While the damage to “Tess” was relatively minor, Geissler didn’t just want to leave it broken, said Noelle Lawton, coordinator of the sculpture walk.
Geissler “wanted it to look the way (she) wanted it,” Lawton said.
While these two sculptures were damaged in early June, Lawton said it hasn’t happened again.