The mystery of the red goats of Uptown Kingston may be coming to a close.
Late Wednesday evening, Kingston Police announced the arrest of two Uptown residents — Geddes J. Paulsen, 23, of 331 Wall St. and Maggie J. Salesman, 26, of 324 Wall St. — in connection with the case. According to police, Salesman, a photographer, and Paulsen, son of artist, O-Positive Festival co-founder and Oo Gallery co-owner Kevin Paulsen and an artist and tattooist in his own right, was charged with third-degree criminal mischief, a felony, and the misdemeanor of making graffiti. Salesman was released with an appearance ticket for Kingston City Court; Paulsen was being held Wednesday night pending arraignment.
City officials estimated the graffiti caused at least $5,000 in damage to 11 planters along Wall Street. The planters were vandalized shortly after they were installed as part of the $1.8 million restoration of the Pike Plan canopy. The goats, which have spawned a Facebook page, imitators from Brooklyn to Colorado and a lively debate about the line between art and vandalism, first appeared on the morning of Oct. 25. That night, the unknown graffitists struck again, painting numbers on all 33 goats.
The guerilla art immediately sparked suspicions that the vandalism was connected to opposition to the Pike Plan restoration. The project has faced strong criticism from some Uptown residents who believe the canopy should be torn down rather than refurbished. Members of the neighborhood’s art community have been particularly vocal in their criticism.
On Wednesday, Nov. 9, three KPD detectives questioned Salesman and Paulsen in the red goat plot after, a source close to the investigation said, obtaining surveillance video showing them in the act. According to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, at least one of the suspects confessed after she was confronted with videotape which was shot from a security camera inside a Wall Street storefront.