Days after installation, paintings missing from Chapel Hill Art Walk honoring pandemic workers

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- A welcome surprise for Chapel Hill residents Thursday morning turned into a disappointing situation Sunday morning, when organizers of a pop-up art event discovered at least four paintings were missing.

The Science & Hope Art Walk consists of more than 80 pieces in downtown Chapel Hill, and was installed Thursday morning in an effort to recognize the work of doctors, nurses, teachers and others who have sacrificed during the pandemic as well as celebrate vaccinations.

"I was inspired because when I got the vaccine, I was just so grateful for all the people who've been working hard on this," said Tamara Rice.

Rice, a Chapel Hill mother, web developer, and adjunct professor at UNC, created two paintings and signage work for the installation.

"We had a lot of fun. I got my kids together, my nieces, and we kind of had a painting party and produced a bunch of art and we had a great time with it," Rice said of the process, which took a few days to complete.

However, she was upset to learn that two of her paintings were taken over the weekend.

"I was mad. I was angry. I was like, 'Who would do this?' It's just like a fun community event," said Rice.

The walk-up begins at the corner of Rosemary Street and Henderson Street, goes down Franklin Street and then back onto Rosemary Street and Graham Street, and will be up through May.

"We have a plan to auction off the art online, and the proceeds will go to the Morehead Planetarium (and Science Center) here in Chapel Hill. They're really excited to be chosen and their mission involves getting youth involved in science across the state," said organizer Mary Parry.

Parry plans on reaching out to police today, though hopes to avoid having to file a report, saying they just want the works back - no questions asked.

"Return it and feel good about returning it. It's been a tough year for everyone and we want everyone to celebrate this art," said Parry.

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