A GoFundMe campaign to restore Sarah the Raptor reached its goal in under five hours on June 30. Drifted Creations Photo – Facebook

Crowdfunding campaign to repair vandalized driftwood sculpture smashes goal in hours

Sarah the Raptor was found vandalized at its Willow Point perch on June 28

An online fundraiser to restore a vandalized sculpture in Campbell River exceeded its goal in less than five hours.

The crowdfunding campaign, “Restore Sarah the Raptor,” was started by artist Alex Witcombe on June 30.

He had been notified two days before that Sarah had been vandalized. The driftwood sculpture was a public art gift to the community and sits on the shore in Willow Point.

When Witcombe investigated, he discovered the damage was significant.

“Her head was ripped off at the neck and her arms torn from the shoulders,” the GoFundMe campaign description says. “Most of her teeth were knocked out and her body left unstable and broken.”

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Witcombe figured the sculpture was irreparable and was ready to disassemble the many driftwood pieces to “return her wooden bones to the ocean.”

But he received an “outpouring” of community support and said he realized how the sculpture was special to many in the community.

“Reprehensible,” one commenter wrote. “So awful that someone would do this,” another said. “This is so sad. My 3 Dinosaur loving boys are so sad. We looked for it every time we drove by. Thank you for your art – it brings so much joy,” another said.

Witcombe took stock of the damage and estimated that if she were to be fixed, it would require four days of work in his Quadra Island studio.

“As much as I would like to donate this studio time myself to restore her, my studio and living expenses need to be met,” he wrote.

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So with his usual rate of $250 per day, he set the fundraising goal at $1,000. It was met within a few hours and as of 4:30 p.m. June 30, had raised $1,347.

Witcombe said any funds raised over and above the $1,000 goal would be put towards other public driftwood art for the community.

It’s not the first time one of Witcombe’s creations has been vandalized.

In March this year, Buckminster the Grey Owl at Stories Beach went missing. Fergus the Fox has also disappeared intermittently. The well-loved sculpture disappeared from his log in the Beaver Lodge Lands in 2018, but reappeared the following week. Fergus was later relocated to the Oyster River Nature Park trail, but went missing again in July 2019. He was recovered by police a few days later.


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

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