Conservation Underway

General Grant receiving a dramatic steam treatment in 2016. Photo Caitlin Martin © 2016 for the Association for Public Art

Spring 2018

Spring has sprung, which means the Association for Public Art’s outdoor sculpture conservation program is in full swing. Every year, our team conducts conservation maintenance for over 30 outdoor sculptures in Philadelphia and takes on special projects as needed. The work involves an inspection of the general condition of the sculptures, removal of any surface grime and graffiti, washing, and renewed application of a special wax coating for the bronze artworks. Launched in 1982, the Association for Public Art’s program is perhaps the longest continuously operating sculpture conservation program of its kind in the country.

>>Learn more about our conservation and advocacy efforts


Pavilion in the Trees Conservation
Conservators working on Pavilion in the Trees in 2016. Photo Caitlin Martin © 2016 for the Association for Public Art

Repairing Pavilion in the Trees

A major focus this year will be repairing Martin Puryear’s Pavilion in the Trees (1993), one of the artist’s earliest public works. Located in West Fairmount Park, the structure was damaged during a storm in late 2017 after a tree collapsed onto the artwork’s sixty-foot walkway. Conservators from the Fairmount Park Conservancy worked with the Association for Public Art to rebuild the walkway so that the amenity can be reopened. Many are familiar with the Puryear’s massive Big Bling (2016) sculpture, which was installed along Philadelphia’s Kelly Drive from June – November 2017.

>>Learn more


Works receiving treatment this year:


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Duck Girl conservation 2018
Photo Ashley Lippolis © 2018 for the Association for Public Art


Related Artworks


Pavilion in the Trees


by Martin Puryear (b. 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.


The Spirit of Enterprise


by Jacques Lipchitz (1891 - 1973)

Central Terrace of Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial Sculpture Garden (north of Boathouse Row on Kelly Drive)

The massive bronze installed in the Central Terrace of the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial represents America’s “Constructive Enterprise” — “the vigor, the power of harnessed nature, or the strength of men harnessing nature and making it conform to their uses and desires.”




by Alexander Stirling Calder (1870 - 1945)

Horticulture Center grounds (Belmont Avenue and North Horticultural Drive, West Fairmount Park)

An Art Nouveau-style bronze sundial atop a sculpted limestone base representing the four seasons. Spring holds a rose; Summer carries poppies; Autumn wears grapes in her hair; and Winter has a pine branch.


Duck Girl


by Paul Manship (1885 – 1966)

Rittenhouse Square, Children's Pool, Walnut Street between 18th and 19th Streets

Poised in a Greek dress, the figure draws on classical imagery – characteristic of Paul Manship’s earlier works.

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