Climate activist charged for alleged defacing of sculpture at National Gallery of Art

A climate activist who allegedly smeared paint on 19th century French artist Edgar Degas’ “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen” sculpture at Washington, D.C.’s National Gallery of Art was charged. Joanna Smith, 54, of Brooklyn, N.Y., received 60 days of prison time out of a possible maximum sentence of five years for defacing the historic statue, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., announced. 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.Smith also paid restitution for the damage to the Degas sculpture and was barred from entering the nation’s capitol and all museums and monuments for two years.Smith, along with other co-conspirators, traveled to the gallery 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 roughly 143-year-old sculpture with force, on their phones, according to the release. According to the government’s evidence, Smith, along with other co-conspirators, created video statements explaining their intent.They also alerted two reporters from the Washington Post who arrived and took photos . 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. 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 .