Students say artwork is eerie reminder of teen who fell and died


A piece of art outside a downtown apartment building where a teenager fell to his death in September is getting some tough reviews.

The artwork, which depicts a man with his hands on the ground and legs in the air, is supposed to show a man breakdancing, but others see something far more eerie.

"I see a man that's about to fall down," said IUPUI student Robert Martinez. "It just makes me feel wrong."

"I definitely thought it was weird," said Noah Strati, also a student at IUPUI.

The part that is upsetting to some people is that it stands only a few hundred feet away from where 18-year-old Xavier Somerville fell to his death.

The Purdue University freshman was at a party at the Avenue Apartments in early September when police officers showed up. His friends said, Somerville got scared and tried to jump from one balcony to another, but slipped and fell.

Fox59 showed Somerville’s brother a picture of the piece and he said his family would want it taken down.

According to Buckingham Properties, which manages the apartments, the artwork was installed before Somerville’s death.

A spokeswoman wrote to Fox59 saying, “We at the Avenue, like others, continue to grieve over this tragic accident. The artwork was designed months before and installed prior to the tragedy.”

Fox59 was later told, Buckingham Properties would consider moving the piece of art, but that would be a conversation it would have with Somerville’s family.

Meanwhile, lots of students who pass the artwork told Fox59 the art should be moved.

"I think they probably should either move it to a different like location or something or probably take it down," said Strati.

"It's just unfortunate and ironic that happened," said Matt Guy, another IUPUI student. “I mean I think they should take it down. I don't really know what the purpose of it is really."

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