For Immediate Release


Vince Cavasin/APLAUDD


Matthew Loflin Davis


Vandals Remove Belle Isle Rock Sculptures

Detroit, MI – November 5, 2003 – Twice this week the Belle Isle Rock Sculptures built by Detroit artist Matthew Loflin Davis have been toppled.

According to an anonymous source who claims to have witnessed the destruction, the rocks were removed by Belle Isle Park groundskeepers.

Mayor’s Office representative Howard Hughey, who reportedly delivered the Mayor’s order to the Recreation Department last week to leave the installation alone, said in a phone interview that the Belle Isle park office called him to inform him that vandals had knocked down the stones. He promised to investigate the matter with the Recreation Department. 

“It’s just sad,” said Davis, “regardless of who is responsible for this, it underscores what I’ve been saying for months—we need to establish an ongoing dialog between artists, citizens, and the various concerned city departments, which include in this case Recreation, the Mayor’s Office, and Cultural Affairs. If this is the work of Recreation, there’s obviously a disconnect that needs to be addressed; if it’s the work of vandals, I think the public support for this project merits at a bare minimum some signage at the site. In either case, this is the reason we started APLAUDD, and there’s no better time for the city to start communicating with us.”

Davis referred to APLAUDD: Art for Public Life And Urban Development in Detroit, a group he co-founded with the mission of promoting public art in the Detroit area. The group’s current main objective is to work with the city to create a process whereby artists, art lovers, and various city departments can communicate more efficiently on matters regarding all forms of public art, in order to eliminate the kinds of misunderstandings that led to the Recreation Department’s order to remove the Belle Isle rock sculptures.

Davis and his rock sculptures have been written about by the Detroit Free Press and in papers across the U.S.; the artist has been interviewed by WJBK FOX2 Detroit's Bill Gallagher, and has appeared in local gallery shows at Mack Avenue Gallery and the Detroit Artist Market. He is scheduled to appear on WTBS's Art Beat on November 8 at 2 p.m., and will have an opening at Gallery 4731 on November 15.                                                                                 

For more information on Matthew Loflin Davis and his work, visit For more information on APLAUDD, visit


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Copyright © 2003 by Matthew Loflin Davis. All rights reserved.