Tag Archives: Bronze

Historic Indianapolis war memorial statue returned after restoration

INDIANAPOLIS — She’s ba-a-ack.

Lady Victory, the 38-foot-tall bronze sculpture that resides atop the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, more than 284 feet above Monument Circle in the center of Indianapolis, has been restored and was returned home Friday.

The statue was removed from the monument last April after workers discovered corrosion while repairing the observation deck in 2009.

The $1.5 million restoration began in Indiana National Guard Joint Forces Headquarters at Stout Field, Indianapolis, in April and were finished two months ahead of schedule

Hoosiers will have their best chance in 118 years to get an up-close and personal look at Victory, who will be on display at ground level until Tuesday. That is when a crane will hoist the 20,000-pound bronze sculpture back atop the monument Tuesday, beginning about 6 a.m.

“The last time she was lifted up there was 118 years ago, and they used horses and pulleys,” Brig. Gen. J. Stewart Goodwin, executive director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission, said. “The next time they’ll need to bring it down, they’ll probably be able to use spaceships.”

Just 15 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty, the monument was originally intended to memorialize Indiana’s Civil War veterans (and ongoing as it was built, Spanish-American War vets). It is the tallest Civil War Monument in America dedicated to ordinary Soldiers and Sailors.

But if it weren’t for Greencastle, there probably would not be a Soldiers & Sailors Monument in the heart of downtown Indianapolis at all. One of the lesser-known facts in Indiana history is that the idea of such a landmark was born in Greencastle.

It was actually the editor of the old Greencastle Banner who is credited with rallying the forces to create a Civil War monument to Hoosiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the Union.

It was in 1875 that George J. Langsdale, editor of one Banner Graphic’s predecessor, attended a reunion of Civil War veterans and presented his monumental idea.

“The Banner Alley Sextet” — a group of six Greencastle Civil War veterans who met regularly in Langsdale’s print shop to discuss the affairs of the day — were behind the idea. Besides Langsdale, they included Putnam County residents J. A. Jackson, Capt. Joseph Donohue, Lt. Henry Meltzer, Capt. J. F. Fee and Capt. Lucius Chapin.

Langsdale was picked to head the Monument Commission, appointed by Gov. Oliver P. Morton after the Indiana Legislature appropriated $200,000 for the monument in 1887.

The monument, dedicated on Sept. 5, 1893, cost $598,318 to erect. The recent restoration has cost $1.5 million, and building a similar structure today would cost more than $500 million, it has been estimated.

SOURCE: http://www.bannergraphic.com/story/1759297.html

Duluth artwork gets some TLC

A team of art conservators chip away at the damage left by years of wear and tear at Duluth’s statues and monuments.

Public sculptures in Duluth received a makeover this week from an art conservation specialist and local apprentices.

Kristin Cheronis, a caretaker of public art in Minneapolis and St. Paul, used her tools to combat and prevent weather damage as well as the man- and bird-made destruction of artwork in local parks and pavilions.

“Our goal is to keep (the sculptures) strong and meaningful and as close to the artist’s original intent as we can,” she said.

She worked on “Spirit of the Lake” in Canal Park and “Green Bear” in Lake Place Park on Monday. On Tuesday, she moved on to the “Man, Child and Gull” in Canal Park and the Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial on First Street.

Cheronis studied the three bronze figures at the memorial Tuesday with her hands on her hips. They got their start in the early afternoon and planned to spend the rest of the day on the project.

Within seconds she could tell that a bird likes to sit atop Clayton’s hat and that passersby often touch the trio’s shoes, which poke out of the concrete wall where they are inset. She noted streaks of green where the protective wax had thinned. She worried that a neighboring business’s painting project might stain the work.

Cheronis, sculpture technician David Fitzgerald and Penny Perry of the Duluth Public Arts Commission first wiped down the memorial with a non-ionic soap with sponges and gloved hands. An old layer of protective wax was stripped from the sculptures with turpentine. They planned to apply a fresh layer of wax, wait for it to dry, then to buff the art.

Left untended, the pieces would corrode, Cheronis said. The sculpture needs to be addressed at least every other year, with a full service job — like they performed this week — done every five years.

“In another five years, you wouldn’t see the forms,” said Cheronis, whose background is in studio art, art history and chemistry. “It would look seedy.”

Perry served as an apprentice, learning the basics of conservation so Duluth’s 25 to 30 pieces of outdoor public art can get regular attention from a local eye.

Earlier in the day she had seen man-made and natural corrosion damage such as chunks of bubble gum, flecks of nail polish and bird excrement, and learned to spot trouble areas, like the streaks of green worn into the figures at the memorial. She saw the “before and after” of two days of work.

“Working on these gives you a new appreciation,” she said. “When I see the ‘Green Bear’ now, I’m invested in it.”

Peter Spooner of the Duluth Public Arts Commission said public art adds character, and upkeep leads to pride in an area.

“They create a sense of a cared-for space or aesthetic space that people want to develop and keep looking good,” Spooner said.

The trio of workers attracted attention in the high-traffic pavilion on East First Street and Second Avenue East. A few people thanked them for their work, and one woman volunteered to help.

Henry Banks noticed the workers when he rode past on the bus. The Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial was a project he initiated in 2000 as co-chairman of the Clayton Jackson McGhie Building Committee. He said he often stops by the site and said he appreciated the fix-up.

“This is timely and important,” he said, taking photographs. “People put heart and soul into this monument for our community.”

SOURCE: http://www.duluthnewstribune.com/event/article/id/205307/