Painted benches stolen during first-ever ‘Take a Seat, Vienna!’ campaign

One bench displayed along Maple Avenue West titled “Spring” disappeared in July. Another titled “Big Wave” that was located along Church Street Northeast was taken in August. (Courtesy Vienna Arts Society)

A small Vienna, Virginia, nonprofit had a big idea to celebrate its 50th anniversary: Turn wooden benches into public works of art around town and then auction them off. But the group was shocked when two of its benches were stolen.

The Vienna Arts Society recruited local businesses to pay for 42 benches, which were meticulously hand-painted by various artists. In April, the benches were put on display in or near the businesses that sponsored them. See photos and a map of the different benches here.

The campaign is called “Take a Seat, Vienna!” And, unfortunately, a thief or thieves did just that.

One bench displayed along Maple Avenue West titled “Spring” disappeared in July. Another titled “Big Wave” that was located along Church Street Northeast was taken in August.

“We were shocked and horrified,” said Doré Skidmore with the Vienna Arts Society. “The police have come up empty-handed.”

She and other artists put in long hours painting the unique designs on the benches. “We’re hoping that whoever took the benches will have a change of heart,” Skidmore said.

The benches that are left will remain on display around Vienna through the end of October.

Skidmore said steps have been taken to better protect the remaining benches from theft until they are sold at a live auction Nov. 2 at the Vienna Community Center.

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