Works from local artists stolen at event

PHOENIX (KSAZ) -- The search is on for some artwork stolen from the Unexpected Art Ggallery in Phoenix.

The art was on display, and featured artists from the gallery now hoping anyone who saw something will say something.

About two weeks ago a group was having an event at the Unexpected Art Gallery near 7th Avenue and Van Buren. Hosting an event at the venue isn't unusual, what happened at the event was.

"Apparently, the people that were here thought the art was something they could take, and they stole art from seven of our artists," said Julie Jennings, Venue Director for Unexpected Art Gallery.

One artist falling victim to the thief was Martin Mata of 2nd to None Customs. His painting of notorious B-I-G on a skateboard was stolen.

"That's something that's part of you," said Mata. "You put feeling and emotion into that, especially for that piece, because that was one of my hero pieces."

Also falling victim was medically retired U.S. Marine Emmett Graham.

"Art helped me get back to where I needed to be," said Graham.

His "King of Diamonds" painting, featuring a skull with a king's crown, was taken. Its value was right around $800. Graham says it's not about the money.

"Took away the time. That's something that is more valuable to me than anyone else may think, because time is the one commodity that no one can get back," said Graham.

According to art gallery officials, they believe the person responsible for stealing the art was parked in the locked parking lot of the American Legion Post along 7th Avenue. They believe when the police arrived, that person then crashed through the gate, causing thousands of dollars in damages.

"It caused thousands of dollars in damage to the American Legion, which is a non-profit that does not have the money or should they have had the hassle of having to deal with it," said Jennings.

A suspect hasn't been caught as of yet, but cameras have been added to the gallery.

Gofundme for artists affected