The family of the late Jesús Moroles has committed to restoring the Disc Sun, a sculpture donated to the Goddard Center that was vandalized in September by a group of unidentified youths.
Suzanna Moroles, sister of Jesús, was joined by fellow relatives Monday to examine and disassemble the damaged piece. They made their way from Rockport, Texas, the location of the Moroles family studio.
The piece was created in 1999 and given to the Goddard Center in 2008. Moroles, a world renowned sculptor and National Medal of the Arts recipient, lived and worked in Rockport and died in June 2015 in a car wreck.
Suzanna said restoration of the Disc Sun will be comprised of several phases, beginning with replacing the shattered base supporting the disc component. The base alone will cost $10,000, she said, and could take several weeks of preparation.
“Considering all our travel here from Rockport, working on-site, communicating with the Goddard and more, it’s really hard to tell how long this will take,” Suzanna said.
The Disc Sun included a specially engineered stainless steel pin connecting the base to the disc component. The Moroles family discovered the pin was bent upon closer examination of the piece, and will also have to be replaced.
Suzanna was horrified by the prospect of the pin snapping, potentially causing the 1,200-pound disc portion of the sculpture to tumble and critically injure somebody.
Surveillance video revealed four to five unidentifiable youths spinning the top portion of the sculpture. The group was spinning and jerking on the circular portion for about 10 minutes, eventually causing a portion of the base to shatter.
“If (the vandals) would’ve gotten it off the stainless steel pin, it could’ve killed one of them. Somebody could’ve at least gotten a head injury and be put in a wheelchair for the rest of their life,” Suzanna said. “These kids need to take this more seriously.”
The Ardmore Police Department has been unable to identify suspects of the vandalism. Capt. Keith Ingle with APD said nobody has come forward to admit to the vandalism, and that police have struggled to identify anybody because of the poor quality of the surveillance video.
The Moroles family is uncertain whether the Disc Sun will be restored to its full, original integrity. But the family has undertaken similar restoration projects in the past, Suzanna said, restoring damaged pieces to where “you can’t tell with the naked eye” they were ever harmed.
Goddard Center Board Member Janice Tindale knows the Moroles family well after being friends with Jesús for years.
Despite the piece being compromised, preservation of what remains of the Disc Sun holds its own value beyond purely aesthetics.
“The sculpture will never be exactly the same, but it’s important to preserve it, and this is the first step in that process,” Tindale said. “I’m grateful that the Moroles family has agreed to take this project on.”