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Artists repair Atascadero monolith after second act of vandalism

The sculpture has been stolen and pulled apart, but the artists have made sure it still stands at the top of Pine Mountain.
monolith damage 8-18-21.jpg
monolith repaired 8-18-21.jpg
Posted at 2:48 PM, Aug 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-18 17:55:33-04

On top of Pine Mountain in Atascadero, a three-sided monolith stands tall.

It has been there since Dec. 2020, when two local artists placed the sculpture along the hiking trail.

The monolith has been destroyed by vandals on two different occasions, first within 24 hours of being put up, and more recently on Sunday, Aug. 15.

Vandals pulled apart the structure's metal sides and apparently dented the once-smooth metal sides.

Undaunted, Wade McKenzie and Travis Kenney, the artists behind the structure, worked to repair it. As of Tuesday, the monolith is back on Pine Mountain.

It may be hard to imagine why the piece of art has been vandalized.

Initially, the sculpture was surrounded with mystery. When it showed up and who made it were unknown. It appeared on the Central Coast days after an anonymous monolith in Utah was reported.

After the Atascadero monolith was stolen and removed from the mountain, the artists came forward. Wade McKenzie and Travis Kenney, both Atascadero residents, replaced the monolith they had built.

They created another nearly identical sculpture, reinforced with structural welding. The artists filled the sculpture with nearly 500 lbs. of concrete to make it harder to move.

The monolith has drawn attention from locals and visitors. It has even become a symbol of joy and unity, words Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno used to describe the work of art.

The people behind the monolith's theft and damage have not been identified, though a video of the December theft surfaced.

A GoFundMe campaign is currently raising money to cover the costs of repairing the structure. Melissa Kenney, campaign organizer and wife of artist Travis Kenney, says they hope to install security cameras in the area to prevent future vandalism.