Editor’s take note: The unique report has been up-to-date subsequent the Community Art Fee meeting on June 16:
The Public Art Fee voted unanimously on Thursday night time to begin the procedure to take out the Midtown Poetry Wall from Palo Alto’s long-lasting public artwork selection.
The poetry wall, a collection of six painted murals at 2605 Middlefield Road in Palo Alto’s Midtown community, is in have to have of restore, and city staff members experienced proposed the wall be “deaccessioned,” which implies the murals would be fixed as temporary artwork but could eventually be ruined.
The commission also accepted as section of the movement by Commissioner Ben Miyaji to have employees offer an “Solution C” in addition to two proposals for quickly repairing the wall. That alternative would seem at dialogue with the community to most likely change the Poetry Wall with an additional temporary artwork installation.
The commission’s vote to initiate the deaccession process starts the lawful clock by which staff must give the community and stakeholders 90 times to be notified and submit responses. In October, the fee will explore and vote on irrespective of whether to formally get rid of the murals from the city’s selection and designate them as momentary art. Repairs would start off to refurbish the murals.
Dependent on the approach of maintenance, the murals could final yet another two to 10 many years, giving the group time to discuss what they want to see at the web site if they want a diverse mural, Elise DeMarzo, community artwork plan director, said.
Workers was alerted by the building’s owner that the murals were weakened and they required to see them refurbished or have a little something else set in their put. The residence operator remains committed to enabling the wall to element an art display screen, DeMarzo explained.
Workers claimed in a report that the murals need to be deaccessioned because routine maintenance is infeasible in the very long term.
The total cost to fix the poetry wall mural would be $23,120 to $28,530, according to the staff report.
“Looking at the underlying difficulties with the site and findings introduced in the ailment studies by artwork conservation specialists, the ongoing effect of a significant diploma of ultraviolet publicity and sizeable typical bills to preserve the mural in the long run, the employees will propose that commissioners initiate deaccession proceedings as outlined in the City’s Deaccession of Artwork Coverage prior to restoring the murals as a momentary artwork,” they wrote.
Citizens explained the poetry wall is the only one particular of its form in the city and is one particular of couple of parts of artwork in the Midtown retail region, and they want it preserved.
“Midtown normally looks to be the poor stepchild of the metropolis in conditions of funding,” explained Annette Glanckopf, a longtime Midtown Inhabitants Affiliation leader who opposes deaccession. She noted the city’s investments in numerous murals and artworks found in spots this sort of as California Avenue.
“We don’t have a poetry wall any place in the town. Midtown is an eclectic neighborhood. This is a exclusive piece of art, and the thought was exceptional. It really is quite quick to paint above it if it can be not official anymore,” Glanckopf said.
The six murals on the poetry wall every consist of a limited poem stenciled on to a different track record painted on the south-experiencing exterior wall of the Walgreens making at Midtown Buying heart. In 2002, the Public Artwork Commission and the Midtown Citizens Affiliation shaped an art committee with neighborhood poet Elizabeth Biller Chapman and launched a local community poetry opposition for people residing, working or attending college in Palo Alto and Stanford.
Ron LeBlanc, Amelia Saliba Long, Elizabeth Ray Mittmann, Liz Cowie, Sharon Olson and Janice Dabney had been the 6 finalists picked out of the much more than 100 contestants to have their poems, which are 30 words or much less and pay tribute to the neighborhood, put on the wall. Initially-spot finalist LeBlanc received $250, and the 2nd-put winners been given $100 each individual.
The original challenge was intended as a momentary display of the five second-position poems, which have been to be printed on vinyl substance and shown for 6 months. LeBlanc’s first-position poem was to be painted as a mural thereafter, according to the employees report.
But the vinyl panels ended up observed to be much too high-priced, with bids concerning $13,000 to $15,000. The fee made the decision to paint all six poem murals specifically on to the 120-foot by 6-foot wall in 2003, according to the personnel report.
By 2010, however, the murals appeared to be in weak all round issue with in depth regions of paint discoloration, blanching and fading, in accordance to the personnel report. The town employed a contractor to repaint the murals for $10,135 in 2012.
The restorations didn’t last, however.
In 2021, the town employed Preservation Arts, a Bay Space-based good art conservation specialist, to evaluate the murals. The specialist discovered the murals’ latex paint and coating act as a polymer “film,” avoiding drinking water evaporation in the wall, which triggered water destruction. The murals also experienced important UV-gentle hurt.
“An comprehensive conservation treatment method would be required to stabilize and restore the murals, even so, treatment method are unable to avoid upcoming cracking, blistering, and paint decline in new places, and troubles are very likely to be ongoing,” the Preservation Arts evaluation noted.
The water challenge ought to be addressed in the wall just before conservation treatment method is carried out, or else it is most likely the murals will require maintenance every number of several years to repair new parts of injury, according to the assessment.
Stabilizing, cleaning, and visually fixing the murals were being estimated to cost $12,635 to $13,650.
The commissioners held a particular assembly on Nov. 4, all through which they researched the Preservation Arts ailment report, reviewed resources dedicated to the maintenance of poetry wall murals involving 2003 and 2021 and took into thought general public opinions. Personnel claimed that the town has used $19,465 on the venture, commencing with the money prizes to the poets and for all repairs and assessments.
In their report, town workers concluded that the only appropriate way to proceed with repairing the murals would be to entirely take out them and stabilize/primary the wall at a price estimate of $10,580. The town would then have two selections: to completely reproduce the poetry wall by repainting the murals (cost estimates selection: $14,957 to $17,950), with an envisioned daily life cycle of seven to 10 yrs or reproduce the murals on adhesive aluminum at a price estimate of $12,540, with an anticipated life cycle of two to a few decades.
Team would return to the fee to request approval of funds for the copy of the poetry wall murals as momentary artwork. Money from the Capital Improvement Strategy Artwork in Community Areas would be made use of to recreate the murals.
DeMarzo said if the murals stay in the city’s assortment of lasting art, the office could repair them as a result of its fund, but accomplishing so would use up most of the $30,000 upkeep funds they have for all projects all through the full year.
“It is really truly an accounting concern,” Commissioner Hsinya Shen famous of the difference concerning applying the Funds Improvement Plan money, which wouldn’t choose from the upkeep finances.
The fee will return to the subject at its Oc
tober assembly and could formally vote on the deaccession proposal.