How Cambridge Arts’ Conservation and Maintenance Program Preserves Public Art for the Future

How Cambridge Arts’ Conservation And Maintenance Program Preserves Public Art For The Future

The City of Cambridge has more than 280 works of contemporary public art. And through late June, Cambridge Arts’ Conservation And Maintenance Program (CAMP) is out visiting many of them to preserve them for the future.

“The goal of preventative conservation is to address maintenance issues before they become bigger, more intensive (and expensive) problems,” Cambridge Arts Director of Art Conservation Craig Uram says. “Our Conservation and Maintenance Program works to get to as much of the public collection as possible each year, to inspect, clean, coat, remove rust and biological growth, and fix minor damages in an effort to preserve the collection and stave off costly deterioration.”

This annual care helps keep the artworks fresh. “Take a look at the bronzes throughout the city,” Uram says, “to see how nice like they look cleaned up with a nice coat of wax, all buffed and shiny.”

Anne Harris (left) and Joseph Carlson-Strom clean Nancy Selvage’s “Water Wall,” 2007, at Trolley Square.

Anne Harris (left) and Joseph Carlson-Strom clean Nancy Selvage’s “Water Wall,” 2007, at Trolley Square.

This year's Conservation and Maintenance Program team is Anne Harris, Tatiana Shannon, Daniel Carlson-Strom, Joseph Carlson-Strom, and Craig Uram. Learn more about them at https://www.cambridgema.gov/arts/Programs/artconservation/summerconservationprogram

If you see our team at work, please say hello. We’re happy to chat and answer questions.

Joseph Carlson-Strom, who has worked with the Conservation and Maintenance Program each spring since 2018, says, “I’ve learned an incredible amount about Cambridge while working in and around the public but one experience sticks out to me. While working on the piece ‘Pole Climbers’ at Clement Morgan Park, a man approached me and asked if I knew what the sculpture was about. I replied that I actually didn't know, and he told me his story about growing up here in Cambridge and playing the sport this sculpture honors. This sport was pole/mast climbing where kids and local residents would climb a 12-foot-tall greased pole competitively. The whole community would get together, cook food and watch these competitions.”

See an artwork that needs care? Let us know: https://arcg.is/1SrvDD1

Cambridge Arts Director of Art Conservation Craig Uram attends to Bland Hoke’s “Artesian Well – A Portal to Sacramento Park’s Past,” 2017, at Sacramento Field.
Cambridge Arts Director of Art Conservation Craig Uram attends to Bland Hoke’s “Artesian Well – A Portal to Sacramento Park’s Past,” 2017, at Sacramento Field.

Gene Cauthen's 1986 bronze "Pole Climbers" at Clement Morgan Park, 60 Columbia St.
Gene Cauthen's 1986 bronze "Pole Climbers" at Clement Morgan Park, 60 Columbia St.
Page was posted on 6/16/2022 4:27 PM
Page was last modified on 6/22/2022 2:28 PM
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