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2009 News Releases

Longwood offering $1,000 reward for information related to vandalism to Joan of Arc statue

October 27, 2009

Joanie on the Pony "Joanie on the Pony" sculpture

Longwood University is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the people and circumstances related to the recent vandalism to the equestrian statue of Joan of Arc in the Colonnades.

Anyone with any information is urged to submit an "Anonymous Crime Report" on the Longwood University Police Department web site (www.longwood.edu/police/reportacrime.htm), and-or to contact Investigator John Thompson by email (thompsonjc@longwood.edu) or by phone (395-2146). "All information will be kept strictly confidential," Thompson said.

The bronze sculpture of Longwood's patron saint was vandalized last weekend. A student called the Longwood Police at about 4:15 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 25, after noticing that it had been removed from its marble pedestal and was lying nearby. After the damage was assessed, the sculpture was taken to the Longwood Center for the Visual Arts to await conservation.

"An active investigation is ongoing," said Longwood Police Chief Bob Beach. "Was it an accident or was it an act of vandalism? We're looking at all possibilities, including horseplay. At this point we're trying to determine the facts as to how it got tipped over and damaged. The key point is that someone knows who did it."

K. Johnson Bowles, LCVA director, said "there was significant damage to the entire sculpture, including severe injury to the figure's arm, torso, helmet, and foot. In addition, the horse's head and body and the sculpture's base were greatly impacted. As the sculpture was displaced from atop the marble pedestal, it too was damaged. The sculpture and base had been conserved in 2006."

"The damage has not been assessed, but it will be thousands of dollars," she added. "We don't know who will fix it. We are contacting experts in the field and are moving forward with the process of receiving estimates from professional conservators."

Affectionately known as "Joanie on the Pony," the sculpture is a reduced version of the bronze monument Joan of Arc by Anna Hyatt Huntington (1876-1973), one of the foremost American sculptors of the early 20th century, known primarily for her equestrian statues. Longwood's copy, based on a casting of that monument in New York City, was given by Huntington to the college in 1927. The statue had undergone a complete renovation in 2006.

"I am both outraged and disheartened that so important a treasure of Longwood University would be nearly destroyed," said Longwood President Patricia Cormier. "Longwood is about being a citizen leader which requires behavior at complete odds with this dastardly deed. I hope that those responsible would own up to their actions. Joanie on the Pony is a symbol of our past and our future, and she belongs to everyone on this campus and in this community. She deserved more respect than she got."

Bowles and Chief Beach echoed those sentiments. "This is an important part of Longwood's history and a significant work of art," Bowles said. "This is something that Longwood is proud of, and it was gift. We value the things that people give us - they inspire us. This is who we are."

Beach called the incident "a significant attack on the culture and the emotion of this university."