ArtPrize painting returned one day after reported stolen

ArtPrize

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — An ArtPrize piece featured on the windows of Mojo’s Dueling Piano Bar and Restaurant on Grand Rapids’ northwest side has been recovered after it was stolen over the weekend.

Kenn Vidro, the artist who created “POP GOES GRAND RAPIDS!,” said he went to the venue on Pearl Street and Monroe Avenue to find the painting missing.

“(Saturday) morning, I pulled by here and noticed it was gone,” Vidro said. 

“POP GOES GRAND RAPIDS!” features multiple paintings with popular cartoon characters in spots across Grand Rapids.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum and the Van Andel Arena are two of the locations featured. The stolen painting shows cartoon characters like Baby Yoda from “The Mandalorian” series and the aliens from the “Toy Story” movies.

Vidro taught art for almost 40 years and has participated in ArtPrize for over a decade. He remained in good spirits despite having his art missing.

“I’ve always been a very positive person. I’m very lucky,” Vidro said.

Vidro says he filed a police report and worked with Mojo’s and ArtPrize to track down any video that may have caught an alleged culprit in action.

On Sunday afternoon, Vidro told News 8 the painting had been found. Police brought it back to its location outside of Mojo’s.

Though the painting sustained minor damage, Vidro said it’s still in good condition.

ArtPrize Executive Director Craig Searer released a statement to News 8:

“It’s very sad when visitors take it upon themselves to vandalize, break, or outright steal an artist’s work. ArtPrize encourages seeing as much art as possible and respecting it at the same time. Unless the piece says it’s OK to touch, we encourage visitors to not touch ArtPrize entries.

“The beauty of ArtPrize is we’ve created a platform for artists and venues to connect and create magical spaces. We encourage venues and artists to have hosting agreements and insurance in place to help navigate these situations.

Craig Searer, executive director of ArtPrize

Vidro said he looks forward to putting the painting back at its spot on the window.

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