Murals At North Cambridge Senior Center Restored

7/7/20221 year ago

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Cambridge Arts has restored Cambridge artist David Fichter’s 1986 murals inside the North Cambridge Senior Center. Watch our video of the process.

“As we welcome more seniors back in person, we are excited that visitors to the North Cambridge Senior Center will be greeted by the vibrant murals restored by Cambridge Arts, reinforcing that the North Cambridge Senior Center is a bright and welcoming place to explore your interests and connect with others,” Susan Pacheco, Director of the Cambridge Council on Aging, says.

“Cambridge has the largest collection of contemporary public art in New England, with more than 280 artworks. One of Cambridge Arts’ key responsibilities is taking care of this major community resource to protect it for the future,” Cambridge Arts Executive Director Jason Weeks says. “We’re excited to see how careful attention to these three-decade-old murals helps them feel fresh again.”

Art conservation is a STEAM project (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math), in this case combining chemistry, materials science, and fine arts expertise. In April 2022, with the help of conservators Theresa Carmichael and Geraldine Brooks, Cambridge Arts restored Fichter’s murals.

How do conservators prevent further problems while repairing damage caused by water leaking from pipes above, adhesive from tape stuck on the murals while covering the walls to protect them, and fading caused by sunlight?

“The conservators used cleaners and solvents, carefully formulated and selected to avoid further damage to the paint surface,” Cambridge Arts Director of Art Conservation Craig Uram says. “The solvents had to be able to remove the adhesive without removing the acrylic paint. Losses to the paint surface were inpainted using paints selected to be distinguishable and removable from the original acrylic paint. The overall fading and blanching caused by the water leak was re-saturated using a varnish that will help to protect the painting and allow the inpainting to be removed in the future, if the need arises.”

The results of our conservation work at the North Cambridge Senior Center are murals as vibrant as when they were new.

Find these murals and explore the rest of our public art collection via our new public art map:

The North Cambridge Senior Center is open Mondays from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Fridays 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.