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Free presentation to focus on saving outdoor statuary


Officials with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History will host a free presentation next week as part of the national Save Outdoor Sculpture! (SOS!) program. The presentation is designed for local government officials responsible for outdoor statuary, sculptors and art students, and anyone with an interest in historic preservation issues.

The program, which is free and open to the public, will be held Wednesday, Sept. 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the “Mountaineer Soldier” sculpture on the grounds of the West Virginia State Capitol in Charleston. Participants are encouraged to bring a bag lunch. In case of rain, the program will be held in the North Briefing Room of the Cultural Center.

At the presentation, sculpture specialist Thomas J. Podnar of McKay Lodge Fine Arts Conservation Laboratory Inc., in Oberlin, OH, will demonstrate statuary conservation techniques as he performs restoration work on “Mountaineer Soldier”—one of two State Capitol sculptures being repaired through the SOS! program. Podnar also will discuss the need for restoring outdoor statuary, how to tell if outdoor sculpture needs to be repaired and how to apply for financial assistance to help conserve public statuary. A question-and-answer period will follow the presentation.

Last year, the Division received two SOS! Conservation Treatment Award grants totaling $8,900 to be used for conservation of two State Capitol sculptures—“Mountaineer Soldier” and “Stonewall Jackson.” Restoration work on the two sculptures is set to begin next week. It will take approximately two weeks to complete.

SOS!, a national program to heighten awareness of public sculpture, is a joint project of Heritage Preservation and Smithsonian’s National Museum of American Art. The Conservation Treatment Awards were made possible with generous support from Target Stores and the National Endowment for the Arts. The state is matching the SOS! grant with funds from the Veterans Memorial Fund, which was created by the West Virginia Legislature from lottery proceeds.

For more information about SOS! or the Sept. 26 program, call Lora Lamarre of the SHPO at (304) 558-0220, ext. 711.

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History, an agency of the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts, brings together the state’s past, present and future through programs and services in the areas of archives and history, the arts, historic preservation and museums. The Cultural Center is West Virginia’s official showcase for the arts. Visit the Division’s website at for more information about programs of the Division. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

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