The concrete and steel structure that will be the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum received an unwelcome paint job last weekend.
Five concrete panels on the structure were vandalized with red spray paint between 6 p.m. April 15 and 6:30 a.m. April 18, causing an estimated $1,000 in damage, MSU police Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor said.
All five paintings were of the same image, a circular face with two red, wavy lines coming from its sides. A similar painting was executed on the side of a yellow 2007 CAT excavator with damage on the machine estimated at an additional $500, McGlothian-Taylor said.
The museum’s director, Michael Rush, said a security guard now will be monitoring the site at night, and video is being reviewed from the 24-hour live-stream webcam to look for potential suspects.
Rush said he believes the building was targeted because it’s a large, open structure and because of its proximity to Grand River Avenue. Rush said he has noticed an increase in graffiti around East Lansing’s downtown area and believes it is becoming a problem.
“This is the first time it’s happened here, (but) I’ve heard that there has been lots of graffiti on Grand River across from the museum,” he said.
“There were a few signs put up asking people to come forward about the graffiti (on other buildings).”
Though the panels will not be exposed when the building is complete, they will need to be cleaned, Rush said.
He doesn’t know when or how the cleaning will happen, but he said the concrete should not be hard to clean.
McGlothian-Taylor said this is the first time any vandalism has occurred at the construction site, and although there have been a few minor incidents, graffiti of this nature is not common on campus.
“That’s the first time anything has happened at that location there, so it was nothing major,” she said.
“In terms of graffiti, no, we’re not having a major problem here on campus.”
Bob Groves, vice president for university advancement, told The State News in an interview earlier this month that MSU has raised more than $34 million for the museum, which is expected to open next spring.
Some students, such as media arts and technology junior Will Chodos, are not happy about the vandalism.
Chodos said he usually is not adverse to spray paintings when they are done on old buildings and unattractive parts of campus — such as the undersides of bridges — but in this case, he said, it just looks bad and costs the school money.
“I don’t see it as something action needs to be taken against,” Chodos said. “Most people would look at that and say, ‘Come on guys.’ I don’t see it as a huge problem. … But then again that’s right on Grand River too, and that looks really terrible.”