Conservator’s Study Outlines a Matrix of Conservation Options for the Annie C. Stewart Memorial Fountain
Conservation of Sculpture & Objects Studio, Inc. (CSOS), a Chicago-based consultant group, recently completed their analysis of several possible conservation options for the City’s oldest commissioned public artwork.
CSOS considered the nearly 1400 responses to a March 2023 community survey about the fate of the fountain, as well as the results from Ground Penetrating Radar and 3D Laser Scanning (LiDAR) to develop a matrix of conservation options, some of the pros and cons of each approach, and corresponding cost estimates.
The report was shared with the community at a public meeting earlier this month. The report is now available on the City’s website, and residents, staff, and policy makers are invited to help determine the best possible outcome for this beloved outdoor sculpture.
In order to provide people time to read and think about the results of the study, another public meeting to discuss the results has been schedule for Monday, July 31 at 7pm. Register to attend here: https://cityofmadison.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0tf-yqrjgpHdUIeBfe-lcwjUHnuQkIDsqg#/registration
The fountain, which was constructed between 1917 and 1925, is a memorial to Annie C. Stewart who died of suicide in 1905. Frederick J. Clasgens created the fountain, which once included two triton’s on either side of the central mermaid who poured water from their conch shells into smaller basins of water. Vandalism and Wisconsin’s winter weather have taken their toll on the fountain, leaving the piece nearly beyond repair and the flanking tritons missing.
City staff have been meeting with a small but dedicated group of neighbors for several years to determine the best path forward. For the last several years, the Parks Division has covered the sculpture in winter to protect it from extreme weather in an attempt to minimize the damage. A more permanent long-term solution is needed to conserve this work so it can be enjoyed by future generations.
- Karin Wolf, Arts & Culture Administrator, 608.261.9134, firstname.lastname@example.org