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Colrain ‘Pyramid of Hope’ stolen in broad daylight

  • Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo's "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture shines brightly after its 2010 installation in Colrain Center.<br/>Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

    Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo's "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture shines brightly after its 2010 installation in Colrain Center.
    Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

  • Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo stands on the Colrain Center spot where his "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture sat from 2010 until its disappearance Saturday.<br/>Recorder/David Rainville

    Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo stands on the Colrain Center spot where his "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture sat from 2010 until its disappearance Saturday.
    Recorder/David Rainville

  • Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo's "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture shines brightly after its 2010 installation in Colrain Center.<br/>Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

    Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo's "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture shines brightly after its 2010 installation in Colrain Center.
    Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

  • Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo's "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture shines brightly after its 2010 installation in Colrain Center.<br/>Recorder file photo/Paul Franz
  • Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo stands on the Colrain Center spot where his "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture sat from 2010 until its disappearance Saturday.<br/>Recorder/David Rainville
  • Pacifico "Tony" Palumbo's "Pyramid of Hope" sculpture shines brightly after its 2010 installation in Colrain Center.<br/>Recorder file photo/Paul Franz

COLRAIN — Artist Pacifico “Tony” Palumbo has lost his hope for Colrain.

Or, you could say, his hope for the town has been stolen.

In 2010, Palumbo built a 14-foot-wide pyramid, dubbed the “Pyramid of Hope,” which he proudly displayed on the site of the former Colrain Inn, next to the Brick Meeting House. Lit from the inside with LED lights, the pyramid illuminated Colrain center at night.

“It was a piece of art that the people of Colrain had really grown to like,” said Palumbo. “There’s not much left in this town. Half the buildings downtown are condemned, and they’ve torn down Memorial Hall. I liked to think the sculpture brought some hope to Colrain.”

The artist considered it a spot of light and color in a village where several buildings have been condemned, including the church that once held the Green Emporium restaurant he ran with partner Michael Collins.

However, someone saw fit to remove it.

“Now, the hope is gone,” said Palumbo. “I got a call on Monday telling me it had been taken away.”

Where his pyramid once sat, there is only a patch of brown earth among the tall grass. The sculpture was gone, save for a few splintered pieces of wood.

“It was hacked apart and probably destroyed,” Palumbo lamented. “Why would someone be so bitter that a piece of art had to be destroyed?”

Palumbo asked around, and one Colrain center resident told him that the pyramid was there when she left town at 5 p.m. Saturday, and gone by the time she returned two hours later.

Though the wooden parts of the pyramid appeared to have been dismantled, they had been built on top of a metal substructure, which Palumbo thinks may still be intact.

If so, he said, it would have been far too large to fit in the bed of a pickup. Because of this, he thinks the theft of the sculpture was arranged ahead of time.

Palumbo said the property’s owners asked him to remove the pyramid last year, in a letter. Last month, he said, he ran into one of the owners at a meeting, who told him in no uncertain terms to get it off the property.

Palumbo said he had been trying to do so, and had made several calls to see if someone else was willing to give his art a home on their lawn.

“I’ve had a lot going on recently,” said Palumbo. “We lost the Green Emporium, and we’ve been trying to get a (restaurant) going in Shelburne Falls.”

Eventually, he found someone who wanted to buy the sculpture, and was negotiating its sale when it disappeared.

“I could have really used that money to invest in the new business,” he said.

Palumbo said he spent $5,000 to build the sculpture, which he valued at more than $20,000.

When he was told the pyramid was gone, he called the property’s owners.

“I talked to all three people who are involved in the property (where the pyramid stood), and they said they didn’t know anything about its disappearance,” said Palumbo.

He has called local and state police to investigate the theft.

Palumbo said that, if he can recover the pyramid’s metal substructure, and the thief owns up to the deed, he won’t pursue criminal charges. With the metal frame, he said, he could rebuild the pyramid for his prospective buyer.

Palumbo planned the pyramid as a response to the belief, held by some, that the world would come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012, the last date listed on the ancient Mayan calendar.

On one side was written “2012,” and, around the corner, “2013,” to symbolize that, whatever Dec. 21, 2012 would bring, the world would go on.

You can reach David Rainville at: drainville@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 279 On Twitter, follow @RecorderRain

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