More than a year after vandals destroyed a sculpture placed in the Arboretum of the Reading Public Museum, a replacement piece for this work has reappeared on its original block. The work of New Jersey artist Miklos Sebek, Duo, beginning in 1987, was destroyed by vandals, who knocked over the carved marble, shattering it into pieces, while knocking down benches, destroying flower beds and vandalizing other sites in Wyomissing. Following an insurance claim and extensive work between the artist, his foundry and the Foundation for the Reading Public Museum, the original work was replaced with a bronze version which was cast in 2020 during the pandemic, as the artist determined he couldn’t recreate marble work at this late stage in his career.
In addition, a new group of sculptures recently donated by Irv and Lois E. Cohen, Forgotten — No One Remembers, 1992, by Greg Johns (Australian, born 1953), and Untitled (Armored Core), ch. 1960s, by Aleko Kyriakos (Greek, born Germany, born 1922), were placed in new sites across the Arboretum and an additional bronze, Danzatrice, ch. 1990, by Matteo Lo Greco (Italian, born 1949) will soon be visible. Over the past ten years, the Museum has added more than twenty outdoor sculptures to the Arboretum. A combination of donations and loans, 28 outdoor works of art are available to all park visitors throughout the year. Museum Director John Graydon Smith thanked the Cohens for their unwavering commitment to sharing their art collection with the public through gifts on display both inside and outside the museum. Smith said: “When Irv and Lois endowed galleries with modern and contemporary art, they transformed the space into a living and changing space for the best works of art of this genre. Now, by adding these outdoor works to our collection, their love of art can be shared with those who cannot enter the building but pass by on foot or by bicycle.
The Reading Public Museum is home to an impressive arboretum that spans 25 acres of lush and carefully manicured natural beauty, including a sculpture garden. An accredited station for the United States Bureau of Plant Industry, many of the 65 distinctive specimens in the park today are from the original plantation in the late 1920s. Large exotic trees are interspersed with trees and of native shrubs, providing fresh air and refreshing shade during the summer. Wyomissing Creek, which runs through the arboretum and park, provides a peaceful and inviting ambience for leisurely walks along the many trails.