An Update on the 'Native Hosts' Artwork

Chancellor Douglas A. Girod, M.D.; Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Barbara Bichelmeyer; Marilyn Stokstad Director of the Spencer Museum of Art Saralyn Reece Hardy
Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 4:50 p.m.
All Lawrence and Edwards Students KU Lawrence Staff, Faculty & Affiliates

Earlier today we learned that the fifth remaining panel of “Native Hosts,” this year’s Common Work of Art outside the Spencer Museum of Art, was stolen.

Unequivocally, we condemn this hurtful crime. The implications extend far beyond the felony theft that it is and reach deeply into Native communities that have worked for visibility – themes reflected in “Native Hosts” by artist Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds.

Spencer staff and other university employees this week were preparing and reinforcing the site for installation of four new replacement panels that are part of the original work that had been vandalized earlier this semester.

Despite this troubling turn of events, our commitment to reinstall the full work at a future date is unwavering. Public art in open spaces contributes to intellectual inquiry and enriches our community. We are equally committed to amplifying Indigenous and Native voices, which also enrich our experiences and environment. As we plan the reinstallation of the work in its entirety, we will engage with appropriate parties and communities to ensure their involvement and input. Further, we intend to host a public conversation about the vandalism and theft of this artwork and its effects on our community.

Public Safety Office is investigating the crime, and we, again, encourage anyone with information about the crime to contact PSO at 785-864-5900.

This crime targeted public art, which should be important to us all. It also targeted art that carries special significance to many members in our community, which should be just as concerning to us.


Doug, Barb, and Saralyn


Douglas A. Girod,


Barbara A. Bichelmeyer,

Provost & Executive Vice Chancellor

Saralyn Reece Hardy,

Marilyn Stokstad Director, Spencer Museum of Art