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Wexner Arts Center Ends Exhibit After Former OSU Employee Took His Own Life At Center

Wexner Center for the Arts
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OSU identifies the man was Dean Sturgis, 63. OSU says he was a security officer who resigned in 2009 in lieu of termination.

The After Picasso exhibit will not reopen after a suicide at the Wexner Center for the Arts, Sunday. Ohio State University said a former employee took his own life inside the arts center. The man previously worked in OSU's Department of Public Safety.

5:27 p.m. Update

Ohio State University spokesman Chris Davey said Wexner Center for the Arts leadership decided, Tuesday afternoon, to permanently close the After Picasso exhibit. 

OSU police officials say Dean D. Sturgis, 63, vandalized the exhibit before he took his own life at the arts center, Sunday morning. 

Sturgis was a former OSU security officer who resigned, in 2009, instead of being fired. 

4:25 p.m. Update

Ohio State identified Dean D. Sturgis, 63, as the person who took his own life at the Wexner Arts Center.

OSU Public Safety Director Vernon Baisden wrote in a statement Sturgis was a former university security officer who resigned, in 2009, instead of being fired.

University Police found Sturgis dead around 11:30 a.m. Some artwork also had been vandalized.

OSU spokesman Chris Davey said the After Picasso exhibit sustained damage, the extent to which continues to be assessed.

“There are 150 works in the current exhibit and all these are pieces that are on loan from multiple lenders from around the world who must be contacted before we can release further specifics about the damage that’s been done here," Davey said. 

Whether the exhibit will resume, Davey said, “No decisions have been made by the leadership by the Wexner Center for the Arts regarding the exhibit at this this time.”

Safety Director Baisden said the arts center and OSU are reviewing security procedures. 

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OSU identifies the man was 63-year-old Dean Sturgis. OSU says Sturgis was a security officer who resigned in 2009 in lieu of termination.

OSU says Sturgis vandalized some art work before taking his own life with a self-inflicted gun shot wound.

Read OSU's full statement below:

“The incident which occurred Sunday at the Wexner Center for the Arts was shocking and traumatic for all involved and included the loss of one life. We can confirm the deceased, 63-year-old Dean D. Sturgis, to be a former Department of Public Safety security officer who resigned in lieu of termination in 2009. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. OSU Police continues to actively investigate and will share additional information as it becomes available. The Wexner Center for the Arts and Ohio State Department of Public Safety have also begun a thorough review, including security procedures.”