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Lakefest sand sculpture, ‘Go Fish,’ destroyed by vandals

South Boston News
Alan Matsumoto’s sand sculpture, “Go Fish,” after it was destroyed by vandals.
SoVaNow.com / July 24, 2013
For at least a decade, visitors to Clarksville’s Lakefest have had the opportunity to watch an artist sculpt a masterpiece from a pile of sand. This year was no different.

Award-winning sand sculptor Alan Matsumoto of Roanoke came to Clarksville on Thursday, and by midday Saturday he had carved a whimsical piece, “Go Fish.” In it, the Roman God of the Sea, Neptune, is engaged in a riveting game of cards — Go Fish — with a lovely mermaid, while a porpoise keeps a watchful eye.

Matsumoto said the piece reflected one of his favorite themes, and marked the first time he has ever reprised the subject of a past sculpture.

Thankfully, thousands of people enjoying Lakefest on Saturday were able to view the completed work. But by Sunday morning it was destroyed — the victim of senseless vandalism.

People in Clarksville were outraged, heartbroken and saddened. One resident even created a Facebook page asking for help identifying the culprit or culprits. On the page, she shared how artists have thought it is “a testament to our town” that previous sculptures remained unblemished until almost Labor Day.

Speaking with Matsumoto on Monday morning, he expressed no anger or rancor over the destruction of his work. He posed a single request. If anyone has pictures of the completed sculpture, please send him a copy at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). “I never got the chance to take a photo for my files,” he said. A photo is the only reminder Matsumoto has ever taken away from any of his sculptures.

Matsumoto has travelled the world for 23 years, creating sand sculptures. While he says he does not mind the fleeting nature of his art — sand sculptures do not last forever — he added he would have preferred that this latest piece last more than a few hours.

Clarksville Town Police are continuing to investigate the matter, checking footprints left in the sand as well as other evidence. Authorities ask that anyone with information about this incident contact the Clarksville police at 434-374-5743.

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