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Colorado artist of bust destroyed by vandals in Capitol Building break in speaks out

Posted at 6:11 PM, Jan 29, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-29 21:00:23-05

MORRISON, Colo. — Emmanuel Martinez has been an artist for more than 50 years, with pieces that have won awards and even been in the Smithsonian.

But one of his pieces made headlines in the wrong way when vandals broke into the State Capitol Building Sunday morning and did significant damage to multiple pieces of artwork, including one of the bronze busts he sculpted.

The vandals still have not been caught.

“That is just a shameful thing that occurred and it’s hard to comprehend,” said Martinez.

The bust was of longtime Colorado state legislator Rich Castro. Martinez said the two were friends, and after the politician died, the choice for who would immortalize him was simple.

“I was very honored to do the piece,” he said.

It was sculpted from clay and forged with bronze in 1992. It would be installed in the Capitol in 1993.

“It’s been there since hen and never moved,” he said.

That was up until Sunday morning when vandals broke into the Capitol and broke cases, destroyed furniture and tipped over busts. The Castro sculpture, which was displayed on the second floor, was found face down on the first floor below.

“Such a shame to see,” said Martinez. “There it was, my piece on the floor.”

He hasn’t seen the damage in person yet but says the quarter-inch bronze could easily have been bent in or completely broken.

But despite the hurt he feels, Martinez said he’s not discouraged. Instead, he showed Denver7 the secret weapon he has in his plan to make a bad situation right.

“This is the original clay,” he said, showing off the original sculpture of Rich Castro, the exact shape and size of the bust.

That original could be turned into a mold, and eventually re-cast into a brand new bust.

“I’m just so glad I held on to it,” said Martinez with a smile. “It will definitely serve the purpose to get it back in the Capitol.”