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Sea Bee is dismantled.

Parking lot attractions under attack -- shipwreck dismantled

The sinking ship in the Allendale Shopping Center's parking lot, Coltsville section of Pittsfield, MA, was dismantled and removed on September 11, 2002. Oddly, the plaza's new owners had no interest maintaining what was arguably the only reason travelers might come to this misguided municipality adjacent to Pittsfield.

The "Sea Bee", a 32-foot, 12-ton work of art by Dustin Shuler, stood in the center of the parking lot since 1990. Like another recent victim of developers, the Ghost Parking Lot, the Seabee was intended as a stark, thought-provoking public sculpture.

Shuler was originally commissioned to craft the ship wreck by the late David W. Bermant, president of National Shopping Centers, sponsor of other asphalt art statements such as the Hamden, CT's Ghost Parking Lot and the Berwyn, IL's Cars on a Spike.

Lamar Companies bought the shopping center for $5.6 million in July, and to succeed locally, they clearly needed the 6 or so parking spaces where the ship stood. No new home for the sculpture could be found -- it was spurned by a minor local college and no one had the money to move it elsewhere.

Artist Shuler was present for the dismantling. He is reported to be keeping the top portion, while the rest went to the scrapyard.

Many locals liked the ship. Frank Leskovitz writes: "My office is in the Allendale Plaza and the ship made a great landmark for giving directions!" Unfortunately, folks like Frank were outnumbered by uptight art bitties and residents fearful of the association with a sinking ship.

Wake up Pittsfield -- your ship has sunk.


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