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Save Outdoor Sculpture!
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1999 Achievement Award Winners

The winners of the third annual SOS! Achievement Awards were announced in September. Twelve of the 18 applicants received cash awards for excellence and innovation in efforts to increase public awareness of outdoor sculpture and the need to preserve it. A panel of external reviewers—including conservation professionals, art historians, administrators, and educators—judged the applications on criteria including quality of efforts, awareness raised, long-range impact, degree to which the project is pioneering or serves as an example to others, and appropriateness of conservation methods.

Five nominees received first-prize awards of $1,000 each, while seven received honorable mention awards of $500. All applicants are to be commended for their efforts.

First Place Winners

New•Land•Marks: public art, community, and the meaning of place is a project of Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park Art Association that joins artists and the city’s diverse communities in developing proposals for outdoor works of art. In the past year, over 35 neighborhoods have submitted "Requests to Participate" as a result of the project’s numerous outreach programs and educational workshops. Eighteen of these were selected to collaborate with 23 artists. Maintenance considerations are included in the design stage of all works and responsible stewardship is emphasized. The next phase includes commissioning of the initial three to five artworks. Award funds will assist in providing conservation consultation and technical assistance during the design and commission phases.

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Giuseppe Moretti’s Battle of Nashville. Photo by James Summerville

The decade-long campaign by The Tennessee Historical Commission in Nashville to restore Giuseppe Moretti’s Battle of Nashville (1927) ended successfully with the monument’s rededication in June 1999. The sculpture, one of the few Civil War monuments to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers, had been partially destroyed by a tornado in 1974 and its remnants orphaned behind a chain-link fence during interstate construction in the 1980s. The restoration effort included replication of the destroyed 30-foot obelisk and its crowning angel, as well as relocation to a more accessible location on the battlefield. Federal transportation funds were used for part of the conservation costs. Plans are underway to create an interpretive park to teach visitors about the battle and the monument. The funds will be added to an endowment for the monument’s upkeep.

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Pedro Silva’s Two Dragons. Photo by Shelley Reisman Paine.

Local conservator Shelley Reisman Paine and her team went beyond the call of duty when she was hired to assess and stabilize Pedro Silva’s Two Dragons (1980), also in Nashville. The sculpture and the park in which it is located had been given to the Hillsboro Village community to heal wounds caused by the demolition of blocks of homes. However, two decades of water damage and wear-and-tear had taken their toll on the popular playground item, a 250-foot mosaic sculpture. Fulfilling contractual obligations, Ms. Paine and her team addressed the structural problems. But not stopping there, they donated staff services, materials, and equipment to replace the many missing mosaic tiles in consultation with the artist—a donation valued at approximately $135,000. Future considerations include the installation of a site drainage system and a moisture content monitor. The award will be donated to the treatment fund.

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Study Outdoor Sculpture. Photo courtesy Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana.

Building on the success of its kit that introduces students to architecture, Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana in Indianapolis created Study Outdoor Sculpture, a teaching resource for grades four through eight. Available on loan to educators at no charge, this multimedia kit is, literally, a treasure chest of information—a traveling trunk containing slide programs and discussion group guidelines, as well as guidebooks, samples of sculptural media, and the complete SOS! inventory of Indiana sculpture. The travel-trunk idea is so popular that the five currently available for loan are booked through the year 2000 by area schools. The funds will be used to publish a book, which will be included in the kit, about Indiana’s outdoor sculpture.

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John Field’s And When the Earth Shall Claim Your Limbs, Forest Hills Cemetery. Photo by Joyce Johnson.

In honor of the 150th anniversary of Boston’s Forest Hills Cemetery, the Forest Hills Educational Trust mounted "Art of the Spirit," a five-month contemporary outdoor sculpture exhibition. Sculptors from across the country were invited to submit works that corresponded to the exhibit’s title and that would harmonize with the cemetery’s distinguished collection of works by artists such as Daniel Chester French, Martin Millmore, and Thomas Ball. Twenty-eight sculptures were selected and sited throughout the cemetery grounds. Opening day activities included a speech by Boston’s Mayor Thomas Menino and a sculpture trail with artists positioned by their works to answer visitor questions. A 64-page catalog was also produced. The award will be included in an endowment to preserve the cemetery’s monuments.

Honorable Mention Awards

In 1995, Historic Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee, created an all-volunteer Speakers Bureau for presentations and film screenings to area civic groups, as well as offering cemetery tours. Since the Bureau’s inception, over 100,000 people have participated in the events, helping to dramatically increase participation in the cemetery’s annual fund-raising campaign. The cemetery will use the award to produce new materials for this program.Standing Soldiers, Kneeling Slaves: Race, War, and Monument in Nineteenth Century America by Kirk Savage, an associate professor of the history of art and architecture, University of Pittsburgh, examines how concepts of race were given expression in the monuments of this era. The book also argues that a significant opportunity was lost shortly after the Civil War ended to fully address the meaning of emancipation through the vehicle of public art. Published in 1997 by Princeton University Press, it has received international praise for its aim to foster constructive dialogue about race and the history of American monuments. The award will assist in implementing a community forum and panel discussion about a controversial Pittsburgh monument.

The Office of Culture Affairs in Columbia, Missouri, has produced its first self-guided tour of the city’s 24 public outdoor sculptures. Supplemental materials, such as a glossary and suggested activities, were also produced to assist area educators in using the guide as a teaching tool. A video version of the tour is now in the works. OCA will use the award to assist in the treatment of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial (1993) by Barbara Grygutis, which is included on the tour.

The City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs treated and reinstalled Milton Horn’s Chicago Rising from the Lake (1954) after it sat for over 10 years in a storage facility. The 12- by 14-foot bronze relief depicts an allegorical female figure representing the city, partially immersed in the waters of Lake Michigan and surrounded by symbols of Chicago’s key industries. The 3-ton sculpture is now on the west wall of the Columbus Drive Bridge, which provides one of the best vantage points of the city and Lake Michigan. The cash award will be placed in the Public Art Endowment Fund and earmarked for maintenance costs for this sculpture.

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In Cleveland, Ohio, The Sculpture Center initiated a program in 1998 to conserve Max Kalish’s Abraham Lincoln (1929) that included a talk by its staff and the artist’s nephew to local high school students about the sculpture’s creation and its conservation. Award funds will be used to arrange a follow-up presentation with the students.

Max Kalish’s Abraham Lincoln. Photo courtesy The Scupture Center

Outdoor Public Sculpture: A Unit of Study is the result of a collaboration between the City of Dallas’ Department of Cultural Affairs, Dallas Adopt-A-Monument, and The North Texas Institute for Educators on the Visual Arts in Denton, Texas. The recently completed instructional kit includes resource materials and discussion guidelines to assist middle and high school educators in bringing outdoor sculpture into the classroom. NTIEVA has distributed kits to member schools in northern Texas, and plans are underway to distribute the kits free to all secondary public schools in Dallas. The award will be used to develop additional print and online materials.

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Daniel Chester French’s Washington
Irving Monument
: photo by
Conservation Technical Associates, Inc.

When the mayor of Irvington, New York, asked for a citizens’ group to oversee the treatment of Daniel Chester French’s Washington Irving Monument (1927) Irvington Landmark Preservation, Inc., answered the call. The condition of the monument to the town’s famous namesake had become an issue of pressing concern, but with ILP’s help, the sculpture was treated by a conservation professional and rededicated with great fanfare. High school students will be involved in its maintenance. Award funds will be used for increased lighting and landscaping.

2002 Achievement Award Winners

2001 Achivement Award Winners

1999 Achievement Award Winners

1998 Achivement Award Winners