Destruction of sculpture an accident, City says

A well-known sculpture in downtown Saskatoon has been knocked down and destroyed after a traffic collision involving multiple vehicles.

Visionaries has stood at 2nd Avenue and 21st Street for more than 20 years

Artist Leslie Potter helps as the pieces of his broken sculpture are loaded onto a truck to be restored. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

The destruction of part of a well-known sculpture in downtown Saskatoon was an accident, the City of Saskatoon says. 

Around 8 p.m. CST on Monday night, two of the pieces in Leslie Potter's sculpture Visionaries were knocked over and smashed.

"We are somewhat relieved it appears the damage was accidental," Community Initiatives Manager, Kevin Kitchen said in a media release.

 "Of course, we would prefer no harm come to public works of art, but we are similarly encouraged the artist tells us he believes it can be restored."

The City received information that police were called after a traffic collision involving multiple vehicles caused damage to the statue.

Kitchen said staff are following up with the City's insurance company and the artist to see what the next steps will be.

The three tall stone figures have stood on the corner of 2nd Avenue and 21st Street since 1994.

Security tape surrounds one of the pillars knocked down last night. (Joshua Lynn/CBC News)
Artist Leslie Potter was shocked by what happened but said he believes he can fix the stone pillars.

"I feel better being here and seeing it than I did on the images," he said. 

"I think I can do some restoration work."

A plaque on the base of the statues says the sculpture represents the "need to develop peace in our time."

Potter is a well-known artist in Saskatoon, and has been making art since the early 1970s. He said the artwork was important to him because it was one of the few large stone carvings he has done.

Tuesday afternoon, Potter joined crews to pick up the remaining pieces and transport them back to his studio.

"If the City wants it back, they can have it back," he said.

Potter said it will not be restored until at least the Fall.  

One of the pieces in the sculpture Visionaries was destroyed last night. (Victoria Dinh/CBC News)
Many people stopped by the iconic carvings to take pictures. Kitchen said it is representative of how much the artwork meant. 

"People have been walking by, taken pictures and told us how upset they are to see this work smashed like this," he said.

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