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Preserving

Members of the aPA’s Conservation Society help to support this important work and protect Philadelphia’s public art treasures for future generations

Philadelphia is truly a “museum without walls” and is considered a livable city in part because of its impressive and unique collection of outdoor sculpture. Yet pollution, acid rain, and vandalism threaten these irreplaceable artistic and cultural assets. The Association for Public Art (aPA) plays a leadership role in protecting and preserving Philadelphia’s public art – both through conservation efforts and advocacy. We provide annual maintenance for many of the city’s most beloved sculptures, as well as taking on special preservation and advocacy projects as needed. Click here to learn more.

Conservation of Robert Laurent's "Spanning the Continent."
Conservation of Robert Laurent’s “Spanning the Continent.” Photo Caitlin Martin © 2014 for Association for Public Art

Outdoor Sculpture Conservation

Concern for the condition of Philadelphia’s outdoor sculptures led the aPA to initiate its Outdoor Sculpture Conservation Program in 1982, the first of its kind in the nation. It is perhaps the longest continuously operating program of its kind in the country.

Annual Maintenance

Each spring, the aPA works with conservators to conduct annual maintenance on over 30 beloved artworks throughout the city. The sculptures are cleaned, protected, and stabilized to protect them from further deterioration and corrosion.

Special Treatment

For artworks with unique conservation needs, the aPA provides special treatments. Projects include the removal of hazardous overgrowth around Martin Puryear’s Pavilion in the Trees and the creation of replacement pieces for Alexander Milne Calder’s Major General George Gordon Meade.

Sculpture of General Meade being restored
Conservation of Alexander Milne Calder’s “Major General George Gordon Meade.” Photo Caitlin Martin © 2013 for Association for Public Art

Awards

The Conservation Program has received numerous awards, including the National 2000 Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections from Heritage Preservation and the American Institute for Conservation.

Public Art Advocacy

In cooperation with civic organizations throughout Philadelphia, the aPA works to to protect and preserve the city’s public art treasures. Notably, the aPA was actively involved in securing the famed mural, The Dream Garden by Maxfield Parrish, when it was threatened with sale and removal.

SOS! (Save Outdoor Sculpture)

The aPA is the local coordinating agency for SOS! (Save Outdoor Sculpture!), a national survey project conducted by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American Art and Heritage Preservation.

Conservation Society

Members of the aPA’s Conservation Society help to support this important work and protect Philadelphia’s public art treasures for future generations. Click here to become a member today.

Conservation of Randolph Rogers’ “Abraham Lincoln” on Kelly Drive. Photo © Association for Public Art.
Conservation of Randolph Rogers’ “Abraham Lincoln” on Kelly Drive. Photo © Association for Public Art.

Related Artworks

Artwork

Major General George Gordon Meade

(1887)

by Alexander Milne Calder (1846 - 1923)

Lansdowne Drive north of Memorial Hall, West Fairmount Park

A memorial in Fairmount Park to General Meade, best known for defeating General Robert E. Lee at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Artwork

The Dream Garden

(1914 – 1915)

by Maxfield Frederick Parrish (1870 - 1966)

Curtis Building lobby (interior), 6th and Walnut Streets, entrance on 6th Street; Hours 7:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., M–F

The second largest Tiffany mosaic in the world, this mural is composed of hundreds of thousands of glass tessarae in more than 260 color tones, weighing in excess of four tons.

Artwork

Pavilion in the Trees

(1993)

by Martin Puryear (1941 - )

Lansdowne Glen, Horticulture Center grounds, off North Horticultural Drive, West Fairmount Park

A sixty-foot walkway leads across a natural basin to an observation platform – a square deck covered by a latticed canopy – that rises twenty-four feet above the ground.

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