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Crime

Calgary police investigate after student art vandalized at Alberta College of Art and Design

WATCH: Calgary police have identified a number of young people believed to be responsible for destroying a student art work display at the Alberta College of Art and Design. As Lisa MacGregor reports, the suspects were only there for five minutes and did some serious damage.

Calgary police are investigating after student art on display at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) was vandalized last week.

Police said the vandalism happened at around 10:50 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14 in the college’s Main Mall area.

The suspects were caught on surveillance camera. Police told Global News they believe they’ve identified all of them and say all are thought to be minors. Investigators said Monday they’re in the process of interviewing them.

In total, three projects were vandalized, including a mural made by third-year student Ben Moon.

Ben Moon, a third-year ACAD student majoring in painting, made this 3D mural titled ‘Us.’
Ben Moon, a third-year ACAD student majoring in painting, made this 3D mural titled ‘Us.’ Courtesy Beb Moon

After nearly 50 hours of hard work, Moon was left picking up the pieces of his shattered photography project.

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“[It was] completely destroyed, it was like smashed on the ground,” Moon said. “Thankfully it was already graded, we already did have our critique. But I wanted to keep it, I wanted to hang it up, I wanted to show it off. I was really proud of it.”

Moon took to Facebook to share a photo of the vandals and later posted a lengthy statement in which he said he doesn’t hate them and doesn’t want anyone else to either.

Moon said he was an “idiot” when he was a teen and “got busted” for all sorts of things.

“I absolutely want justice, because when I look back at myself, the only thing that set me on the right path was having actual consequences for my actions,” Moon said. “At the same time though, I absolutely don’t want anyone to hate these idiots. If you’re gonna hate them, you might as well hate 18-year-old me as well.”

In an email sent out to ACAD community members, the college said incidents like this are “extremely rare.”

“The security of our ACAD community and ensuring ACAD is a safe space for all is of paramount importance,” the email read. “ACAD views this incident with utmost seriousness, and campus security measures are being reviewed.”

“If you see anything suspicious or notice unusual activity on campus or the surrounding area please do not hesitate to notify security immediately.”

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“We always have security here on site they have a large building to go around and make sure it’s secure,” Marion Garden, ACAD’s director of communications said.

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“And of course we have our closed circuit TV that was very effective in capturing the footage of the people that came into the mall.”

Garden said officials are reviewing the security footage but hope the vandalism won’t disrupt the open art space they’ve worked hard to create.

“We’re educating people, they’re emerging artists and we have constant displays on that we want the community of Calgary to have a look at,” Garden said.

The destruction took less than five minutes, police said.

Monday, Calgary police told Global News they have identified the boys and are speaking with them.

Second year ACAD fine arts student Sam Bodnarchuk saw his ruined piece for the first time on Monday, covered in paint.

“The group of kids found a paint can lying around the school and painted all over it,” Bodnarchuk said. “It’s really disappointing to see someone just so blatantly disrespect your hard work.”

“I feel really bad for especially Sam because his piece was one of the best in the show,” Moon said.

Both Moon and Bodnarchuk think the young vandals could learn a thing or two from the art they destroyed.

“Honestly, I’d like to see them go through an art course for a day and see what it’s like, because it’s hard work,” Bodnarchuk said.

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