Nineteen statues are getting some much-needed touch-ups around the city. Russell-Marti Conservation Services, a statue conservation and restoration company based in Missouri, is currently working on the General Daniel Davidson Bidwell statue (photo) after recently completing work on the statue of Columbus at Columbus Park.
It has been eight years since the statues have undergone any maintenance, which means that there is a bit more work to be done than usual. At the same time, the works of art are in good condition and only require the team to remove a bit of corrosion before applying a wax coating (all pieces undergo different treatments). The Buffalo Arts Commission issued the contract for the nineteen works – a job that will last the better part of the summer.
I was surprised to hear that the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College was not a part of the restoration and conservation project. I spoke to Marianne Russell Marti who was at the site and she explained to me that in the past a few of the Buff State interns have worked alongside the contracted companies and that she herself was a graduate of the department. I suppose that in the end it is of utmost importance to find the experts who can keep the city’s public art in top form.
It would be nice to see students from the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College tending to some of the statues each summer so that when the pros come in there is less work to be done. I would also think that if more students were brought onboard when the professionals were in town, that we would have a solid in-house team on-hand to conduct routine maintenance each and every year.