Over Thirty Sculptures Receive Conservation Maintenance, Including One Dramatic Steam Treatment

May is here – and that means it’s conservation time! Each spring, the Association for Public Art (aPA) provides annual maintenance for over 30 outdoor sculptures in Philadelphia through our landmark Outdoor Sculpture Conservation Program (initiated in 1982). Our team inspects the artworks, removes any surface grime and graffiti, washes the sculptures, and applies a special wax coating for artworks made of bronze. The sculptures are cleaned, protected, and stabilized to arrest further deterioration and improve aesthetic appearance. The aPA also takes on special conservation projects as needed.

General Grant Conservation. Conservator shown in a lift above the sculpture.
Photo © Association for Public Art



Dramatic Steam Treatment for Grant

On Monday, May 9th from 10:30-11:30AM, the many layers of protective wax coating on the bronze General Ulysses S. Grant sculpture along Kelly Drive will be completely removed with dramatic hot pressure water/steam. A new thin protective wax coating will then be applied to the surface and buffed to help highlight the sculpture’s details.

*This work will be conducted weather permitting. For conservation updates and photos, follow us on Instagram and Facebook.



Artworks receiving treatment this month include:

Related Artworks


General Ulysses S. Grant


by Daniel Chester French (1850 - 1931), Edward C. Potter (1857 - 1923)

Kelly and Fountain Green Drives

Just four days after the death of General Grant in 1885, the Fairmount Park Art Association (now the Association for Public Art) formed a committee to create a fund for erecting an appropriate memorial.


Mary Dyer

(1960, cast 1975)

by Sylvia Shaw Judson (1897 - 1978)

Friends Center, 15th and Cherry Streets

A memorial to Mary Dyer, a deliberate martyr to her Quaker belief in freedom of religion. Artist Sylvia Shaw Judson intended to convey qualities of “courage, compassion, and peace.”


Law, Prosperity, and Power


by Daniel Chester French (1850 - 1931)

South George's Hill Drive, grounds of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts (enclosed behind fencing)

Commissioned for the U.S. Post Office and Federal Building in Philadelphia, Law, Prosperity, and Power used a lyrical form to idealize government.

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