Dallas will play a pig part in Save Outdoor Sculpture, a national program in which 25,000 volunteers in 36 states will assess the condition of the nation’s public art, much of which is Crumbling. The Smithsonian! and the National Institute for Conservation of Cultural Property are spearheading the project with the help of a $4 million donation from the Getty, Pew and Luce Foundations.
Dallas’ own Adopt-A-Mon-ument received $24,000 to coordinate the local SOS chapter. Project director Mary Ellen Degnan, an urban planning consultant and founding member of Adopt-A-Monu-ment, solicited the help of SMU art history department head Greg Warden. Around 60 undergraduates, along with 10 art history graduate students, will photograph, measure and describe 300 sculptures in six North Texas counties.
“They have to learn how to describe and analyze real sculpture,” Warden says. “They will be researching the history of a sculpture they can actually see, and not just something in a museum in Europe.”
When the Smithsonian has its inventory, Degnan says, “it can be used for public art guides, maps, walking tours, research and as a promotional vehicle for both city and state.” Most of all, she hopes to increase the number of people who care about public art.