Q: What happened to the little boy statue that was at the center of Freedom Park in Palm Desert? It has been missing for over a year.
– Joy Jones
A: The boy is one of two pieces of the poignant “For Our Freedom” bronze sculpture that has been in the park since 2007.
The sculpture includes a woman, on her knees, the apparent mother of the boy. The boy – which is looking back at the woman – is holding a toy airplane in one hand and an American flag in the other and casts a shadow of himself as a young man in a military uniform.
“For Our Freedom” was created by artists Jesus and Adam Romo of Romo Studios LLC in Sacramento and was dedicated on Veterans Day 2007.
The sculpture of the boy was reported stolen on May 6, 2021, city spokesman Thomas Soule said. Staff received notification from the Public Works department that the boy had been stolen sometime that morning.
It weighed about 275 pounds, and city officials don't know how it was removed, Soule said.
A police report was filed along with an insurance claim.
City council members are expected to consider replacing the sculpture at their Jan. 27 meeting, at an estimated cost of $188,390, Soule said.
Romo Studios will replace the stolen sculpture and include a theft preventative device – a rod that will be placed inside the sculpture to make it more secure and difficult to remove from the site, Amy Lawrence, special programs manager for the city, states in a staff report.
The city has received an insurance check for $164,970, Lawrence said, leaving a balance of $23,600 to be paid from the city’s Public Art fund.
The city’s Cultural Arts Committee is recommending the council approve replacing the piece.
– Sherry Barkas, mid-valley reporter
Q. Prior to moving to the Coachella Valley, I do not recall seeing utility boxes painted in such a beautiful manner. Most of them are amazing works of art and essentially go without acknowledgment. I’ve often wondered about the artists and if their art is done on a voluntary basis.
– Paula Hansen
A: According to Palm Springs Public Arts Commissioner Russell Pritchard and Desert Hot Springs spokesperson Doria Wilms, artists are commissioned to paint these boxes as part of their public art programs.
Pritchard credited Palm Springs’ utility boxes project titled “Stop In The Name of Love” to Commissioner Shawnda Faveau, adding several have been completed through a call to local artists and more are planned for the future. Artists are paid between $500 to $750.
Amy Lawrence, special programs manager for the City of Palm Desert, said they put out the occasional call for artists to beautify utility boxes and are paid $500 through their Cultural Arts Committee.
Last spring, the City of Indio put out a call for artists to submit entries for 15 boxes and were paid $750 per selected entry through the city’s Arts in Public Places Fund.
– Brian Blueskye, arts and entertainment reporter
Q: When you get your PCR COVID test, which city is assigned that positive stat? The city where you got the test? Or the city on your license? I’m talking about the daily counts we see in the paper ... How is it tallied?
– Marie Lyons
A: If an Indio resident goes to Palm Springs to get a COVID-19 test and it comes back positive, that result will go to the patient’s city of residence.
“The address of the person being tested is used, not the city where the test takes place,” said county spokesperson Jose Arballo Jr.
Riverside County Public Health updates its city-by-city COVID-19 metrics, which include cases, deaths and recoveries, every Monday at www.rivcoph.org/coronavirus.
Testing breakdowns by city are also available under the “Summary reports” section of the COVID-19 dashboard. That document also states that "testing data includes only those tests with verified address information for the test recipient."
– Ema Sasic, health reporter
How Ask The Desert Sun works
Participate by sending your questions:
Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org using Ask The Desert Sun in the subject line
On Twitter, use the hashtag #AskTDS or tag the newspaper, @mydesert, with your question
Send a direct message to The Desert Sun’s Facebook page which is www.facebook.com/thedesertsun
This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Ask The Desert Sun: What happened to this Palm Desert park statue?