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t By Kayjohnson Thanks to the dedication, enthusiasm l she took it over."
y and creativity of a couple of UK alumni,   Meadows immediately began recruiting
I more folks are becoming aware of the need volunteers — she sent letters to all of
y to preserve some often neglected Kentucky j Kentucky’s arts councils, museums, historical
A treasures. l societies and chambers of commerce. They
SOS! — Save Outdoor Sculpture! — a   got good response, and she says, “got some
campaign to first identify, and then protect   good publicity in various areas.
outdoor sculpture, is being carried out by the ' "We trained 70 people, but some have fall-
largest volunteer corps to ever tackle a cultur- j en out along the way. It’s a lot of work to ask a
al project in the United States. SOS! volun- r volunteer to do." Inventory reports, compiled
teers are locating, inventorying and assessing j by the volunteers, list the artist, title, date,
the condition of thousands of the nation’s l material, dimensions, location, history and
sculptures, ranging from 18th century revolu-   condition of each of the outdoor sculptures.
tionary war heroes to contemporary works on   This information is added to the Inventory of
public plazas. American Sculpture, a new database already in
SOS! is sponsored by the National use by researchers and maintained by the
Museum of American Art (Smithsonian   National Museum ofAmerican Art.
Institution) and the National Institute for the r Across the United States outdoor sculp-
Y Conservation of Cultural Property, both locat-   tures have been placed everywhere from parks
ed in Washington, D.C. l to traffic islands to celebrate or commemorate
l Kentucky’s SOS! efforts are headed by j the people and events most significant in a
{ Irwin Pickett ’7O and Lori Meadows ’85. , community’s history. Often little thought is
i Pickett is director of visual arts for the l given to the sculptures’ upkeep. One—half of
l Kentucky Arts Council, and Meadows is the l the sculptures surveyed so far needs conserva-
. Kentucky SOS! project coordinator. They   tion treatment. More than l0 percent require
I have been working on the project for two l urgent care.
Th€’V0¤d5M¢k€i5 vuiside years, though Pickett says the national project j A key factor in sculpture degradation is
the UKA" M”S?“'”» [md started a couple of years before then.   acid rain. Arthur Beale, director of research at
{gwpmgmimblmg _ “They had been sending us material and A the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, explains:
if  information about it and had made the offer   “When sculptures are exposed they slowly dis-
Cmmfmthg Am in of grants avail- l solve. Their surfaces are lost. And since sculp-
L0uiS,,illg_ ; able to several I ture depends on surface, when it’s lost, it’s
I organizations gone forever." Damage is also caused by hurri-
lj J and museums   canes, floods, earthquakes, vandalism, acci-
j but nobody ever   dents and neglect.
took them up on “Answering the question of who hasjuris-
it. I thought it l diction over a work may be the most impor-
was a tant aspect of the survey,” says National
great idea. Museum of American Art director Elizabeth
  Lori had A Broun. “Often no one remembers how the
just finished a similar sculptures were commissioned or who’s
project in textiles, so I called her and responsible for them. They might suffer
Fall 1995 Kentucky Alumnus 7