Why was Red Teepee removed from Lucchesi?

In 2017, local artists and arts advocates approached the Petaluma Public Art Committee about the deteriorating condition of Red Teepee with the hope that the Committee would allocate resources to conserve the sculpture in place.  On September 28, 2017, the Public Art Committee discussed the condition of Red Teepee, including preliminary ideas for conservation efforts. After researching the artwork’s origins and ownership, the City and Public Art Committee concluded that the artwork was never owned by the City of Petaluma and that Peter Forakis’ estate was held in trust by the Peter Forakis Art Foundation, who would also own Red Teepee.

In summary, between 2018 and 2021, letters were sent between the City and the head of the Peter Forakis Art Foundation on the topic of Red Teepee‘s future. The Public Art Committee and City at the time were open to collaborating with the Peter Forakis Art Foundation to conserve the artwork, which was in dire need for foundation repair, and began to pose a public safety issue in Lucchesi park. Due to lack of resources, the Peter Forakis Art Foundation did not have the ability to care for the sculpture nor relocate the sculpture from City property. The City Attorney sent several written requests for the Peter Forakis Art Foundation to remove the artwork; if the City received no response within an alotted timeline, the City would determine the artwork as abandoned property in accordance with Petaluma Municipal Code Chapter 3.08 Disposal of Unclaimed Property and seek recompense from the Peter Forakis Art Foundation for its removal and storage costs. On November 15, 2021, the extended removal deadline expired after several written attempts from the City to get in touch with the Peter Forakis Art Foundation and began the process of planning for the artwork’s removal.

On September 28, 2022, City staff coordinated efforts to dismantle and remove the artwork from City property. The recycled steel went to a local sculptor who would like to honor Peter Forakis’ legacy in future works that will be created from the recycled material.

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