Climate activist charged after smearing paint on sculpture

Climate activist charged after smearing paint on sculpture

A climate activist who smeared paint on a case surrounding 19th-century French artist Edgar Degas’ “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” sculpture at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art was sentenced Friday.

Joanna Smith, 54, of Brooklyn, New York, got 60 days of prison time out of a possible maximum sentence of five years for defacing the exhibit, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., said in a release. 

Judge Amy Berman Jackson also ordered Smith to serve 24 months of supervised release and 150 hours of community service, with 10 hours that must involve cleaning graffiti.

The judge also ordered Smith to pay restitution for the damage to the exhibit and barred her from entering the nation’s capital and all museums and monuments for two years.

CLIMATE ACTIVISTS INDICTED FOR SMEARING PAINT ON DEGAS SCULPTURE CASE AT NATIONAL GALLERY

Climate protesters

Joanna Smith and a fellow activist sitting after smearing paint on the case that houses Edgar Degas’ “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. (Ellie Silverman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Smith, along with other co-conspirators, traveled to Washington, D.C., on April 27, 2023, and allegedly targeted the sculpture, the attorney’s office said.

The two allegedly smuggled the paint in plastic water bottles and had other conspirators film them smearing the paint of the base and the see-through case, while sometimes hitting the case housing the roughly 143-year-old priceless artwork with force, on their phones, according to the release. 

Climate protesters

Joanna Smith and another activist smearing paint on the case that houses Edgar Degas’ “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” at the National Gallery of Art on April 27, 2023. ( Ellie Silverman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

According to the government’s evidence, Smith, along with other co-conspirators, created video statements explaining their intent.

ACTIVISTS VANDALIZE SCOTLAND’S ‘BRAVEHEART’ MONUMENT IN CLIMATE PROTEST

The group also allegedly alerted The Washington Post, which sent two reporters who took photos of the vandalism, according to the DOJ. 

Climate protesters

Joanna Smith and her fellow activist sitting in front of Edgar Degas’ “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” at the National Gallery of Art on April 27, 2023. (Ellie Silverman/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

The April 27 incident caused $4,000 in damage and forced staff to remove “Little Dancer” from the galleries for 10 days for repairs, the release said. 

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The case was investigated by the FBI’s Washington Field Office, specifically the FBI’s Art Crime Team, with assistance from the National Gallery of Art Police, and U.S. Park Police.

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