Reward Offered For Stolen Artwork

Courtesy of the Valley Arts Alliance.
Courtesy of the Valley Arts Alliance.

A 14-foot-long dinosaur sculpture affectionately called Bertie is missing from a Matanuska Valley museum The artwork was stolen from the museum during a break-in this summer and it’s owners want it back. No questions asked.

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Bertie is a 6 foot high reproduction of a juvenile Albertosaurus — that’s a real dinosaur which is first cousin to the terrifying Tyrannosaurus Rex. Carmen Summerfield, who’s president of the Valley Arts Alliance, says Bertie is the creation of five artists 

“So it’s a dinosaur replica of an Albertasaurus, and those bones were found in Northern Alaska. And we started off with an aluminum backpack frame and then welded some more supports around that and then we covered it with upholstery foam material and then especially the head of the dinosaur, and you know it moves the head, the mouth opens and the eyes light up. It’s really neat. “

 Bertie was born at Arctic Fires Bronze in Palmer a couple of years ago for the 2011 Valley Wearable Art and Runway Fashion Show.

 “One person can wear it and you strap the legs to your feet. So when you move with it, the nice this is with the tail, there’s a little bit of balance there, and it moves like a real thing. It doesn’t come across as robotic.”

 Bertie, who is  brightly painted green and yellow, and has since made the rounds of arts events and local fiestas. Until July, that is, when Bertie was stolen from storage. Sherry Jackson, executive director of the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry in Wasilla, says Bertie was nabbed from a barn on the museum’s grounds, and the finger points to teenage vandals

 “The morning of July 3rd we discovered some fire extinguishers had been expended in our parking lot. So then we looked around and saw where the barn doors were open. There was some graffiti left in the parking lot and also inside my office.”

 And Bertie was gone.  Jackson filed a vandalism report with the police, but says the dinosaur is still out there somewhere.

 Summerfield is offering two free tickets to the Alliance’s next wearable art show in February as an inducement to finding Bertie’s whereabouts. She says so far, she’s received no tips and no ransom note.

 “I think, you know, maybe what has happened, whoever was there and took Bertie they didn’t realize how big and cumbersome it was. If they let us know where it is, we can come and pick it up. You know, that’s no problem. Because that is probably part of the problem too, how to transport it. If we can just get a tip of where it is, we will pick it up. “

 Bertie is described as having glowing eyes and very white teeth. The whole 6 foot by 14 foot dinosaur weighs in at about 35 pounds. Bertie would be hard to miss, and his creators miss him, too.