South Portland artist seeks return of her validating work

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SOUTH PORTLAND — For 15 years, a beloved sculpture called “Keds” stood guard in her creator’s yard at the corner of Broadway and Lincoln Street.

All that remains now of the life-size, bronze piece is the armature, a foot, and part of a thigh; the rest of the sculpture was stolen from artist and creator Margaret Lyons’ yard nearly three weeks ago.

Although Lyons took to social media and contacted the police, there is still no sign of “Keds.”

According to Lyons, the sculpture was stolen from her property between 2:30 and 3 p.m. on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 24, in broad daylight. Lyons said her neighbor, a witness to the crime, said there were multiple people around at the time.

The neighbor thought the statue was simply being moved or repaired by the thief, whom she described as a large man wearing a green military jacket and camouflage pants.

This was not the first time that the sculpture was vandalized; in 2002, “Keds”’ face and right leg were stolen. This time, however, the entire the torso and the arms were removed.

Regardless of who took the sculpture, Lyons said she is not looking to press charges,  but only seeks the safe return of the artwork. 

A few days after the incident, a distraught Lyons posted on her Facebook page: “At this point, I’m just interested in knowing what happened to her. I almost think … if she were in the possession of someone that truly loved her … I wouldn’t even be mad. I seriously just want to know that she is okay.”

“Keds” is made from molds of Lyons’ body, and is thus a very personal piece. Lyons created “Keds,” which was based on the Hellenistic “Nike of Samothrace” sculpture, in 2000, while taking an advanced bronze class in art school.

“This piece was a show-stopper, something to prove I was justified in being allowed in a senior class,” Lyons said.

She said people have offered up to $10,000 for the sculpture, but that “Keds,” wherever she is, is not for sale.

Lyons wrote on Facebook that, if “Keds” is returned, she can probably repair the sculpture.

She said that her close neighbors are keeping an eye out for further activity, and that the response on social media has been heartening. 

“I’ve had so many people scouring the neighborhood,” Lyons said. “It’s breathtaking, the humanity of some.” 

Lily O’Gara can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or logara@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @lilyog28.

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Margaret Lyons’ “Keds,” before the work’s theft on Oct. 24 in South Portland.

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