By Beth Germano

NEWTON (CBS) – Vandals have targeted a piece of art on the green in Newton Center which is an artist’s depiction of her Asian grandmother. It was the only display that was defaced among the many pieces curated by Newton Community Pride.

“Here we have five doors in this location, and this one certainly seems to have been targeted,” said Gloria Gavris, who chairs the group.

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Paint was torn or scraped off just below the Chinese characters “por por,” for “grandmother,” and it has caught the attention of the community.

Vandals have targeted a piece of art on the green in Newton Center which is an artist’s depiction of her Asian grandmother. (WBZ-TV)

“I think it makes it hard to imagine if it’s our neighbors or people outside,” said Newton resident Ellie Goldberg.

Also this week, a “Stop Asian Hate” sign was taken and from a Newton front yard, apparently by a jogger. The homeowner, who doesn’t want to be identified, said she worries about her own safety. “I think Newton is a great community, but this recent behavior is very alarming to me.”

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It comes as Newton police investigate a series of recent housebreaks that also appear to target Asians. Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said the incidents are being taken very seriously.

“We’re addressing not just the victims who were targeted, but everyone in Newton who is now unsettled and worried and feeling like the way they look is making them a target.”

The artist Amanda Beard Garcia wrote in an Instagram post, “It really irks me that someone would take time out of their day to trash a piece of art made for the community. Why is our existence so controversial?”

It’s a question Newton resident Jooyoon Cheng has also considered. “I kind of thought I would be safe in Newton, but maybe that’s not the case.”

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The mayor says the incidents are being investigated as hate crimes. The defaced artwork will be rededicated in the coming days at Newton City Hall.

Beth Germano