September 30, 2023


Arts Eternal

Update: Public Art Commission initiates process to remove Midtown Poetry Wall from art collection | News

Editor’s observe: The unique report has been up-to-date pursuing the Community Artwork Fee conference on June 16:

The Public Art Fee voted unanimously on Thursday evening to begin the method to take away the Midtown Poetry Wall from Palo Alto’s lasting community art assortment.

The poetry wall, a series of six painted murals at 2605 Middlefield Street in Palo Alto’s Midtown community, is in want of maintenance, and town staff had advised the wall be “deaccessioned,” which indicates the murals would be fixed as non permanent artwork but could ultimately be wrecked.

The fee also authorised as part of the movement by Commissioner Ben Miyaji to have staff members offer an “Solution C” in addition to two proposals for temporarily restoring the wall. That alternative would glimpse at dialogue with the community to probably substitute the Poetry Wall with a different non permanent art installation.

The commission’s vote to initiate the deaccession system commences the legal clock by which staff members ought to give the general public and stakeholders 90 days to be notified and submit comments. In Oct, the commission will explore and vote on whether to formally eliminate the murals from the city’s collection and designate them as momentary artwork. Repairs would start off to refurbish the murals.

Relying on the system of maintenance, the murals could past yet another two to 10 a long time, supplying the group time to discuss what they want to see at the web site if they want a different mural, Elise DeMarzo, general public artwork program director, reported.

Staff was alerted by the building’s operator that the murals had been harmed and they needed to see them refurbished or have one thing else set in their place. The home owner continues to be dedicated to enabling the wall to element an art exhibit, DeMarzo claimed.

Employees claimed in a report that the murals need to be deaccessioned due to the fact maintenance is infeasible in the extended expression.

The overall value to fix the poetry wall mural would be $23,120 to $28,530, in accordance to the staff members report.

“Looking at the fundamental difficulties with the web page and conclusions introduced in the situation experiences by artwork conservation experts, the ongoing impact of a substantial diploma of ultraviolet exposure and considerable common bills to maintain the mural in the long term, the staff will recommend that commissioners initiate deaccession proceedings as outlined in the City’s Deaccession of Artwork Policy prior to restoring the murals as a momentary artwork,” they wrote.

Inhabitants mentioned the poetry wall is the only a single of its variety in the city and is one of handful of parts of artwork in the Midtown retail place, and they want it preserved.

“Midtown normally appears to be the weak stepchild of the city in terms of funding,” explained Annette Glanckopf, a longtime Midtown Residents Affiliation chief who opposes deaccession. She famous the city’s investments in quite a few murals and artworks situated in places this kind of as California Avenue.

“We really don’t have a poetry wall any place in the city. Midtown is an eclectic community. This is a exclusive piece of art, and the concept was distinctive. It can be really straightforward to paint above it if it really is not formal any longer,” Glanckopf explained.

The six murals on the poetry wall each consist of a shorter poem stenciled on to a diverse track record painted on the south-struggling with exterior wall of the Walgreens developing at Midtown Procuring center. In 2002, the Community Art Fee and the Midtown People Affiliation shaped an art committee with regional poet Elizabeth Biller Chapman and introduced a community poetry competitiveness for folks residing, operating or attending school in Palo Alto and Stanford.

Ron LeBlanc, Amelia Saliba Extensive, Elizabeth Ray Mittmann, Liz Cowie, Sharon Olson and Janice Dabney were the 6 finalists picked out of the far more than 100 contestants to have their poems, which are 30 text or significantly less and pay out tribute to the local community, place on the wall. First-position finalist LeBlanc gained $250, and the 2nd-put winners received $100 each individual.

The preliminary challenge was meant as a short term show of the five next-spot poems, which had been to be printed on vinyl content and shown for 6 months. LeBlanc’s 1st-location poem was to be painted as a mural thereafter, according to the team report.

But the vinyl panels had been uncovered to be also highly-priced, with bids amongst $13,000 to $15,000. The fee decided to paint all 6 poem murals instantly on to the 120-foot by 6-foot wall in 2003, according to the workers report.

By 2010, having said that, the murals appeared to be in bad in general problem with comprehensive locations of paint discoloration, blanching and fading, according to the workers report. The town hired a contractor to repaint the murals for $10,135 in 2012.

The restorations failed to very last, nevertheless.

In 2021, the town hired Preservation Arts, a Bay Place-primarily based fine artwork conservation professional, to evaluate the murals. The guide discovered the murals’ latex paint and coating act as a polymer “movie,” protecting against drinking water evaporation in the wall, which induced h2o injury. The murals also had important UV-light-weight harm.

“An intensive conservation treatment method would be required to stabilize and restore the murals, nonetheless, treatment simply cannot reduce long term cracking, blistering, and paint decline in new regions, and issues are possible to be ongoing,” the Preservation Arts assessment pointed out.

The drinking water challenge should really be dealt with in the wall just before conservation remedy is carried out, otherwise it is probable the murals will need to have servicing each and every couple a long time to mend new locations of injury, in accordance to the assessment.

Stabilizing, cleansing, and visually repairing the murals have been approximated to price $12,635 to $13,650.

The commissioners held a exclusive conference on Nov. 4, all through which they analyzed the Preservation Arts issue report, reviewed funds dedicated to the upkeep of poetry wall murals among 2003 and 2021 and took into thought general public responses. Employees documented that the city has spent $19,465 on the venture, commencing with the hard cash prizes to the poets and for all repairs and assessments.

In their report, city staff concluded that the only acceptable way to continue with repairing the murals would be to absolutely clear away them and stabilize/prime the wall at a value estimate of $10,580. The city would then have two options: to entirely reproduce the poetry wall by repainting the murals (cost estimates selection: $14,957 to $17,950), with an expected everyday living cycle of 7 to 10 a long time or reproduce the murals on adhesive aluminum at a price tag estimate of $12,540, with an envisioned everyday living cycle of two to 3 several years.

Staff would return to the commission to request acceptance of money for the copy of the poetry wall murals as momentary artwork. Funds from the Capital Enhancement Program Art in Community Locations would be made use of to recreate the murals.

DeMarzo claimed if the murals stay in the city’s collection of long term art, the section could repair service them by way of its fund, but executing so would use up most of the $30,000 upkeep finances they have for all tasks through the overall year.

“It truly is genuinely an accounting difficulty,” Commissioner Hsinya Shen noted of the variance concerning working with the Funds Improvement Program resources, which would not just take from the routine maintenance spending plan.

The commission will return to the subject matter at its Oct conference and could formally vote on the deaccession proposal.