Cleaning the sculpture garden at the Guild | Local News


The Creative Arts Guild takes cleaning to a whole new level.

With Festival, the Guild’s signature community event, a month away, several pieces of the Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden are being curated to look their best for visitors.

“As we celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Sculpture Garden in 2020, we set ourselves goals for acquisition, curation, infrastructure and lighting,” said Amanda Brown, Executive Director of Creative Arts. Guild. “We increased the collection to 58 pieces and added a sidewalk to improve accessibility. We are now focusing on conserving a few sculptures that needed a bit more TLC (tender loving care). »

The exterior sculpture requires maintenance to maintain its appearance and stability. Years spent outdoors result in surface abrasion caused by dirt, dust, mildew and acidic bird droppings. On wood, stone, bronze and aluminum sculptures, most of these problems can be managed with regular washing. Over time, however, rain, fog, and moisture can penetrate sealants and paint on the steel sculpture, resulting in pockets of rust that can destabilize the metal.

Ken Macklin’s “Simoon” (1992), William Wareham’s “Duende” (2003), James Rosati’s “Maquette for Ode IV” (1980-82) and Guy Dill’s “Spreader” (1995) are processed to remove the l impact of decades of exposure to the elements.

“Some sculptures are meant to take on a rusty patina, like those made of Cor-Ten steel,” said Robert Webb, founder and curator of the sculpture garden. “Other types of steel need to be sealed to prevent rust from compromising the material. The works treated in the garden are between 20 and 40 years old, but they are healthy and stable. This conservation measure will keep them in good condition for years to come.

The works are steam blasted, a process that uses a mixture of pressurized water and biodegradable micro-abrasive particles to deep clean the objects down to their original surface. The work is then closed or repainted as closely as possible to the artist’s original vision.

“Steam blasting was ideal for us because there were no cleanup issues like with sandblasting and the process was efficient and environmentally friendly,” Brown said. “We have touch-up paint for ‘Duende’ to match the original color, and ‘Spreader’ is a standard flat black. We are committed to being good stewards of the work entrusted to us and to protecting it for future generations to enjoy.

Brown said work on the sculpture’s conservation would be completed before the Festival, which takes place September 16-18. Self-guided tours of the Sculpture Garden are available during the festival weekend.

“The festival is the perfect time to visit the sculpture garden,” Webb said. “In addition to preserving these four significant works, last year we also added works by Phoebe Adams, Bill Barrett, Tony Rosenthal and John Ivor Smith, and we continue to work on improving the grounds.”

Webb noted that Bill Barrett’s sculpture “Willem D” is an important piece by a great American sculptor, considered by many to be one of the leading members of the second generation of Abstract Expressionists.

“Barrett’s piece, which references Willem de Kooning, had been in a private collection in a small suburb of Chicago for 35 years,” Webb said. “We are incredibly lucky to have the sculpture in the garden. It is a work worthy of a museum.

The Robert T. Webb Sculpture Garden is the only sculpture garden in the state of Georgia to feature a permanent collection. Webb’s goal is to expand the collection of modern and contemporary sculpture to 60 pieces by 2023 with the Creative Arts Guild’s sixtieth anniversary.

“The Guild has been an essential part of the Northwest Georgia community for nearly six decades,” Webb said. “Having a work in the garden for each of those years would be a big milestone.”

Brown noted that the next phase of work in the garden will include improved signage, benches, litter bins and additional landscaping. Community members who wish to support the garden can honor or commemorate a loved one by donating a bench, tree or shrubbery or by “adopting” a sculpture.

“Our local community has been incredibly supportive of the Guild over the past six decades, and we welcome gifts that help us preserve, protect and develop our unique sculpture garden, which provides free access to the arts every day. of the year. .”

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