While Frog Baby is waiting to be repaired, a former Ball State student charged with the vandalism waits for her preliminary trial on March 7 to begin negotiation for her criminal mischief charge.
The iconic statue is currently waiting to be shipped to Venus Bronze Works in Detroit, which is best known for its work on the Solider and Sailors monument in Indianapolis, Jim Lowe, director of Engineering and Construction Operations, said. The statue was vandalized and spray painted gold in December.
“We all hope we can get it in their hands, they can evaluate it, do their work and get it back to us before graduation,” Lowe said.
Hannah Leath was charged with criminal mischief, a class B misdemeanor.
Lowe said officers followed marks that were left, one of which included Leath’s initials, and used the security camera footage of Frog Baby on Dec. 12.
Leath’s lawyer, Kelly Bryan, said under Indiana law the penalty for Leath’s misdemeanor could range from no jail time or fine to up to 180 days in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
“My first opportunity to talk to the prosecutor and his attitude about the case will be at that pretrial; I have not talked to him before so I don’t know,” Bryan said. “It’s really not a routine case.”
Bryan also said there is a possibility Leath will have to pay for the cost to repair all damages.
So far, the university has paid $1,840 to clean nine different locations that were spray painted, including sidewalks, light poles and a push button at the Scramble Light, Lowe said.
He said initial cost estimates for removing the paint from Frog Baby are anywhere between $3,000 to $5,000. A local company will deliver the statue to Detroit within the next week.
Peter Blume, Museum of Art director, recommended Venus Bronze Works and gave Lowe suggestions on how to crate Frog Baby.
“We wanted to make sure it was done properly,” Lowe said.
Blume said it was important to have a structure that would cushion the statue on the inside, but be strong enough on the outside to protect it from anything crashing into it during delivery.
Blume said he referred those in charge of the statue to Venus Bronze Works because of the extent of the damage.
“It’s very serious,” Blume said. “But I think the spray paint is removable.”
Blume said it was selfish to spray paint Frog Baby.
“I think works of art like frog baby and the setting of the fountain are important touchstones for everyone that goes to Ball State,” Blume said. “They deserve to be treated respectfully.”
Blume and Lowe said that once restored, Frog Baby should go right back to the fountain.