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Lincoln woman confuses Spider-Man sculpture as the devil

Posted at 6:50 PM, Jul 24, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-24 19:50:19-04

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — A sculpture in Lincoln is making waves nationally after a woman sent a letter to the city's mayor claiming the work was celebrating the devil.

On July 2, the mayor's office in Lincoln received an email complaining that a sculpture near the Lincoln Children's Zoo on 27th and Capital Parkway "formed into devil horns," was "anti-christian and demonic" and was "a hate crime against the church."

The sculpture was actually of Spider-Man and the design featured colors and designs found on the superhero's costume and had a web as part of the installation. The Spider-Man installation was part of a larger installation across the city called "Showing Hands" which featured 39 six foot by six foot sculptures of hands. Past installations have included sculptures of light bulbs, bikes and hearts.

"This is in my opinion Spider-Man hands," said Matt Schulte, an organizer from Youth for Christ in Lincoln. "Very clearly there are webs shooting out of it, red and black so it looks very much to me like Spider-Man. But unfortunately that's not how everyone felt for a while. So it's clearly red and black which people use for the devil. There's a hard rock symbol for the devil's horns but it's clearly Spider-Man or I love you in sign language."

"I have never seen the devil in a superhero much less this piece of art," said Liz Shea-McCoy, the project director. "Right behind it is the Children's Zoo."

With Spider-Man being so popular, organizers thought Spidey would be perfect in front of the Children's Zoo.

"One of the criteria for the artists is to make a piece of art that is rated G for community display," Shea-McCoy said.

Being a Christian organization, the Youth for Christ leadership was surprised to receive the complaint.

"We're clearly a Christian organization, we never would've created a spot that celebrates the devil's work," Schulte said.

Art is meant to be interpreted, but Schulte said maybe next time, viewers of the sculpture should wait and take a second look before sending their email.

"One of the fun things about art is that people can interpret things differently," Schulte said. "I just wish she took another step or two to understand the project."

Schulte said the woman who originally filed the complaint said she now sees it as Spider-Man. She told the art organizers she hopes the Spider-Man sculpture will now sell at a higher price when auctioned for charity this fall.