On average, deer in the wild can live up to 10 years, but with man as either an accidental or intentional assailant, more often than not deer seldom reach 5 years of age.
And apparently, what applies to deer living in the wild also applies to the 22 aluminum painted deer of Idyllwild’s Deer Sightings installed in Idyllwild and Pine Cove. Dedicated and placed on their pedestals in 2013, even aluminum deer find it hard to survive to ripe old age in the “wild” environs of Idyllwild.
On or before Monday, Nov. 7, an unknown assailant toppled “Jazzy,” Deer Sightings resident at Café Aroma, causing damage to one of his antlers. Painted by Rachel Welch to commemorate Idyllwild’s jazz history, Jazzy was found lying on pavement next to his mounting place at Café Aroma by restaurant staff. Dennis Gerdes and Dave Robb are looking at ways to repair the damage and return Jazzy to his site.
The stags, does and fawns of the Deer Sightings herd were decorated by local artists to commemorate Idyllwild history and themes. They were lovingly painted and installed to uplift visitors and to enhance Idyllwild’s image as an art haven.
Unfortunately in three separate incidents, one painted deer was unceremoniously uplifted and stolen from its mounting, another was driven over and crushed by an errant automobile, and most recently, Jazzy was toppled from his pedestal and damaged.
Art Alliance of Idyllwild President Shanna Robb, who shepherded the Deer Sightings project into reality, found the latest instance of damage disheartening.
Rachel Welch, who painted Jazzy said, “I’m sad about the damage to Jazzy, but I realize that any time we put something out for everyone to enjoy, we cannot expect everyone to be respectful of it. But I think that the enjoyment that my deer has brought people over the years greatly outweighs this instance of disrespect. And I’m glad there are so many people that are helping to make Jazzy whole again. He is more than mine – he is part of this amazing community. It makes me happy that so many people care.”
Patrons and admirers of the deer are admonished not to touch or sit on the sculptures. They are for viewing only.
Anyone with information about how the damage occurred should contact the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Hemet Station at 951-791-3412.