The Central Park Conservancy (CPC), with a grant from Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Inc. Foundation, is offering summer internships in outdoor sculpture conservation. The CPC is a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the maintenance and preservation of Central Park. For more information, visit the Central Park Conservancy website at www.centralparknyc.org
Interns will be involved in the hands-on examination, documentation, preservation and conservation of the bronze and stone sculpture in Central Park, New York City. Duties and a listing of projects for the summer 2011 are as follows:
Monuments Conservation Internship Program
This year’s seasonal monuments internship program will run for ten weeks; from Wednesday, June 1st to Friday, August 5th, 2011. Work hours are from 7 AM to 3:30 PM, Monday through Friday. Interns will be chosen from a competitive pool of applicants to perform a wide variety of preservation and conservation activities including the regular maintenance of the Park’s sculpture and select special projects. CPC Preservation & Conservation staff will instruct and supervise the interns. Summer housing is available at Columbia University. Check availability at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The seasonal monuments conservation interns are an integral part of our continuing efforts to maintain the Park’s fifty-one bronze & stone monuments in pristine condition. Interns work in an urban park setting and will be required to safely operate vehicles and machinery under supervision. Interns should be team players physically capable of lifting heavy objects and working from a boom lift and scaffolding. They will be trained and supervised in personal and public safety precautions.
This summer, the interns will conduct routine maintenance on the collection, cleaning each piece with a non?ionic detergent and applying a sacrificial, carnauba-based wax coating to protect the bronze. They will also conduct condition assessments on each of the monuments and document their findings in a database. Interns will gain valuable knowledge about materials and outdoor corrosion processes in an urban environment. They will receive technical training such as application of patina, finishes and coatings, and restoration and conservation techniques, while working on a wide variety of sculptural and architectural features of various materials, age, condition and conservation needs.
Cyclical lacquer coatings restoration
Many of Central Park’s bronze monuments have lacquer coatings that require restoration. The existing failed coating must be chemically stripped and the bronze carefully assessed to determine the scope of treatment. This includes physical repair of bronze and its masonry base, chemical patination, metal conditioning, cleaning and coatings application. Candidate sculpture for summer 2011 include; Paul Manship’s Children’s Zoo gates and William Shakespeare on the Mall.
Bethesda Terrace is a work of architectural and decorative genius that has been the central formal feature of the Park since its inception. The Terrace contains many ornate sandstone carvings of birds, plants, and seasonal motifs. As with past years, interns will be involved in the restoration of missing or damaged carved bird heads, etc. and will be taught the basics of stone carving, dutchman repair, patching and mortar replication and repair.
Pulitzer Fountain (1913-1916)
Publisher Joseph Pulitzer’s bequest to the City of New York and Central Park is a proud example of the City Beautiful movement. Sculptor Karl Bitter’s Pomona, the goddess of abundance crowns the Italian Renaissance-inspired fountain. The bronze figure’s coating requires restoration. Kress interns will assist with removal of the failed coating, cleaning, patination and application of a new water resistant, corrosion-inhibiting coating.
Located in Grand Army Plaza, the statue was created in 1892-1903 by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, the most highly regarded American sculptor of his time. The statue portrays General William Tecumseh Sherman on horseback led by an allegorical figure of Victory striding forward with an upraised arm.
The loss of gilding from the surface of the monument has become significant due to weathering and the large number of pigeons “resting” on the monument. This year interns will explore the options of pigeon control and assist in re-gilding areas of loss. They will compare the results of recent testing- the objective of which was to identify suitable VOC- compliant coating systems, which will work in conjunction with the intricately gilt finish of the artist’s original intent.
Created to commemorate Richard Morris Hunt and John Lennon respectively, the Hunt and Imagine mosaics are in stable condition due in part to the work of past summer interns. This year’s interns will monitor the condition of the recent repairs and when necessary will replace missing tiles and re-grout. After any repairs are completed interns will clean the mosaics and apply a sealer.
The Polish King
Representing Poland at the World’s Fair in Queens in 1939, King Jagiello by S.K. Ostrowski has found a permanent home in Central Park. The iron armature supporting this large equestrian bronze is deteriorating and is causing damage to the sculpture’s base. Interns will help assess the condition of the existing armature and make recommendations for its removal, the design and fabrication of the new stainless steel armature and the sculpture’s reinstallation on its base. Project progress permitting, interns may be involved in the forming, welding and patination of the bronze in damaged areas. Additionally, they will learn from first hand experience the New York City Design Commission approval process.
Keeping the monuments and statues in Central Park in pristine condition takes a great deal of hard work and special dedication. Support from the Charles Evans Hughes Memorial Foundation Inc. helps the Conservancy provide this important seasonal internship opportunity and makes a real difference in our ability to preserve the features and historic monuments in Central Park.