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Hunt for ‘missing boy’ after art heist

Artist Katie Gracie with daughter and St Patrick’s School pupil Audrey Meynell. Next to the pair are the two paintings the vandals left behind. PHOTO/ELI HILL

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St Patrick’s School pupils have been left “very disappointed and sad” after part of their new school mural was stolen over the weekend.

The mural, which is the first thing pupils see when they get through the school gate, displays the school values as well as four life-sized paintings of students in uniform.

Or at least, it used to.

On Monday, pupils discovered two of the four paintings had been dug up and stolen.

Later that day the artist behind the mural, Katie Gracie, put up a post on Facebook asking for the community’s help in tracking down the missing paintings.

“The girl was found on the Wairarapa College grounds over the weekend and a kind Samaritan took her home before seeing the Facebook post on Monday and returning her to school.”

Gracie said the post had got plenty of attention online with 56 people sharing it.

“One of the kids asked me if I felt sad about them being stolen. I said, ‘well I do feel really sad, but the positive is people don’t like this happening so we’re looking at that community spirit’.

“It’s blown me away how much people care.”

While the painting of the girl had been recovered, albeit with a few minor scrapes, the painting of a boy with black hair and a grey uniform was still to be found.

Gracie asked for people who might’ve seen the boy to get in touch.

In class, pupils from room two wrote letters to the vandals telling them how they felt.

“To the vandals, I was so sad to see the mess in the concrete,” Amelia wrote.

“Our mural was made by a sweet lady called Katie, please bring our school painting back.”

Jazlyn wrote that they were “very disappointed and sad to see damage at our school”.

“Our mural was made with love from Katie. Please bring back our property.”

Erin’s letter began, “To the strangers. I am extremely cross at the damage you made. I want the school property back, From Erin.”

  • People can get in touch with Katie Gracie on her Facebook Page facebook.com/katiegracieart/ or call St Patrick’s School on 06 377 5043.

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