PITTSFIELD -- A wireform sculpture of a sheep that has become a favorite for many in the downtown was defaced recently with blood-red spray paint.

"This is a piece that brought smiles to everybody's face," said Ed Bride, chairman of the Artscape Pittsfield Committee. "I don't understand the mentality."

Rebecca Tefft, the city's recreation program coordinator, said the vandalism was reported to her by highway department personnel on Thurs day and she called police. The sculpture, called "Reminiscent Mount" and the work of Susan Treat of South Lee, is located near the Berkshire Bank building at 99 North St.

The Artscape Committee annually places public art at Park Square and other locations throughout the downtown, rotating some pieces in and out each year. The 2013 exhibit brochure contains 25 works, seven of them new to the downtown.

Tefft said red paint apparently was sprayed on and over the pole on which the sculpture is mounted, on the sheep, and down into a flower planter beneath it. "It looks like blood," she said. "And underneath it, the planter is defaced as well."

The artist will have to determine how to remediate the vandalism, she said, adding that it might prove difficult to remove the red paint without repainting the sculpture entirely.

Another street sculpture, "Word Processors," by Paul Angiolillo, at 100 West St., also may have been vandalized this year, Tefft said. Employees of Laurin Publishing noticed that a piece had somehow dislodged and took it inside for protection.

The sculpture is of two large pencils and an eraser.

"This is not the first time something has happened," Tefft said, "but this is more prominent because it's on North Street. She said the work, "Bunny Boulder Bench," which was located two years ago in the City Hall Garden off Allen Street, had pieces broken off.

Bride said it's fortunate that vandalism has been rare over the years for the artscape program, and that with the sheep sculpture nothing was broken or taken. "Over the 10 to 12 years we've been doing this, we've had more than 100 pieces," he said. "There has been very little [vandalism], thankfully."

"It is certainly disappointing when people feel the need to express themselves by defacing artwork," Bride said. "They are doing no good, just doing harm."

Capt. John Mullin of the Pittsfield Police said the investigation is continuing into the vandalism.

To reach Jim Therrien:

jtherrien@berkshireeagle.com,

or (413) 496-6247

On Twitter: @BE_therrien