Bronze Statue Stolen from Downtown Sioux City

Sep 24, 2015

"Goddess of the Grapes," a bronze sculpture by Deb Zeller, was reported missing from downtown Sioux City on Tuesday.
Credit Sculpt Siouxland

Someone has stolen a bronze statue from downtown Sioux City. The city’s Art Center discovered "Goddess of the Grapes" was gone on Tuesday from it's 4th Street location, after doing an inventory of all the public art sculptures it maintains.

The roughly 20-inch statue depicts a young woman holding grapes, standing on her toes and reaching towards the sky. "Goddess of the Grapes" is owned by the nonprofit Sculpt Siouxland and maintained by the Sioux City Art Center.

Art Center Director Al Harris-Fernandez says the sculpture is worth $4,500, but he emphasizes it's worth is really about the quality of life in Sioux City.

"It's a gift to the community when you put public art on display," he says. "It creates a point of interest, something to appreciate and enjoy when you're walking through the downtown area. So it's not just taking a sculpture. It's actually vandalizing the community's pride and sense of place." 

Though theft and vandalism are rare, it's possible the sculpture’s material and size made it vulnerable. 

"It's either somebody you like it and wanted it for their own. Or somebody who thought they could take it and resell it either as a sculpture, as the value of the bronze that it was cast it," says Harris-Fernandez. "Small sculptures are always a problem, especially if they are made out of bronze." 

The art center has removed another bronze statue that was mounted near “Goddess of the Grapes.” It will be replaced after the it's better secured. 

Attempts to reach Minnesota artist Deb Zeller were not successful. But in the Sioux City Journal's "2009-2010 Sculpt Siouxland Tour" podcast, Zeller says she originally created the work for a winery, "To protect Minnesota grapes, from Minnesota weather." 

If you have any tips on the statute's location, contact the Sioux City Police Department at (712) 279-6440.