The City of El Paso Could Have To Pay An Artist $500K Over Destruction of a Gun Sculpture
A 40-foot sculpture by a local artist that symbolized the history of gun violence along the U.S./Mexico border, has been destroyed by the City of El Paso, and they are facing a potential half-million-dollar lawsuit from the artist who created it.
Margarita Cabrera says her sculpture 'Uplift', was commissioned by the City and was supposed to be installed in a roundabout on Country Club Road and Memory Lane. Instead, the City dismantled the artwork, saying it was not structurally sound, and came together "in a fashion that is different from the original design".
The sculpture used material from confiscated guns donated by El Paso Sheriff Richard Wiles, and Cabrera says the flock of birds taking flight are a symbol of transcending violence.
Cabrera's lawyer says she has complied with her contract with the City, and they have not paid her the full $70,000 commission. Because the work, which Cabrera values at $200,000, has not yet fully been paid for, Cabrera contends she still owns it. A website that follows the art world says the City has not only destroyed Cabrera's artwork, they have severely damaged her reputation as a public artist.
No one at the City has commented on the artwork, other than to say they removed it because it was structurally unsound, and that they will work with Cabrera on either adjustments to the piece, or a replacement.