Indiana News

Shoe art by Kokomo native returned after stolen from northern Indiana museum

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WISH) — A shoe by a native Indiana artist was stolen Saturday from a northern Indiana museum, which reported Monday night that the piece of art was returned.

South Bend Museum of Art sought help to find the thief of a shoe from the piece titled “Welcome Knives,” part of an exhibit by Kokomo native Chris Francis that’s traveled to other U.S. museums. His work has been described as wearable architecture.

The shoe disappeared between 2 and 5 p.m. Saturday while the museum was open. The museum staff and city police are reviewing surveillance video from the Century Center to gain a lead. South Bend’s show called “Chris Francis: Modern Bespoke 21st Century Shoe Art” is in the downtown Century Center through April 5.

Francis, who grew up in Kokomo and now lives in Los Angeles, said in a statement that he was “saddened to be informed that someone has chosen to steal the piece ‘Welcome Knives’ from the exhibition. The shoes exhibited are all documented and catalogued works of art that have shown in many museums. Every shoe in the exhibition is one of a kind, with no others in existence making them very different than shoes we find in stores.”

Francis has created shoes for runway shows and for celebrities, including Lady Gaga and the members of Kiss and The Sex Pistols. His work was displayed late last year on the Purdue University campus.

Details on the shoe’s return were not immediately available Monday night, but Susan Visser, executive director of the South Bend museum, said in a Facebook post, “We are thrilled that this work of art has been recovered! We are extremely grateful to all our friends and supporters who helped spread the word about the theft. Thanks, especially, to local media, who seized the story and disseminated it immediately. What an ending! The artist is delighted, as are we.”

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