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.
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.
Works receiving treatment this year:
- Duck Girl and Lion Crushing a Serpent (Rittenhouse Square)
- Three Way Piece Number One: Points, Rock Form (Porthcurno), and Mary Dyer (Benjamin Franklin Parkway)
- Mounted Amazon Attacked by a Panther, The Lion Fighter, Symbiosis, and Well Head (Around the Philadelphia Museum of Art)
- Abraham Lincoln, The Wedges, James A. Garfield Monument, Cowboy, Stone Age in America, General Ulysses S. Grant, Thorfinn Karlsefni, and works in the Ellen Phillips Samuel Memorial (Kelly Drive)
- Dickens and Little Nell (West Philadelphia)
- Pavilion in the Trees, Major General George Gordon Meade, Night, Sundial, Shakespeare Memorial, and Law, Prosperity and Power (West Fairmount Park)
- Fingerspan, (Wissahickon)
- The Labor Monument and Walt Whitman (South Philadelphia)
- Embodying Thoreau: dwelling, sitting, watching (Pennypack Park)