Public Art Conservation:
The District of Columbia and the City Washington have a large Public Art program and collection dispersed widely around the city and district. The collection also includes not only new commissions but legacy artworks and monuments. This collection is organized by wards.
In 2006, the DC Commission for Arts and Humanities contracted with the Cleveland area art conservation center McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory of Oberlin to conduct the collection’s first survey and documentation of the condition of each artwork and set the priorities and recommendations for attention.
It was not until 2014 that the survey recommendations began to be addressed, when the DC commission contracted with McKay Lodge Art Conservation again, for one year of attention to artworks the public art coordinator selected.
Work has continued annually to the present (2017). At the start of each of the district’s fiscal year, which begins in October, a selection of artworks are made for conservation attention during the warmer months of the following year (usually April through September) based on recommendations from condition assessments by McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory in the previous year.
Each year, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, the district contracted with McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory to carry out a combination of conservation treatments and condition assessments from which work for the following year can be identified. The 2017 contract budget for conservation of DC Public Art is almost $100,000.
Currently, as the DC 2017 fiscal year and our current annual contract is coming to a close at the end of September, we are busy refurbishing a large public space called Lamont Park, located at Lamont and Mt. Pleasant Streets, NW. All other projects totaling near the $100,000 budget limit have been completed. While a public gathering space and very congested on weekends, fixtures dispersed throughout the park are artistic and include a large gateway, benches, and fired clay insets in the paving. All of these are in desperate need of attention and partial rebuilding, which is exactly what we are doing.
In addition to the District of Columbia Public Art conservation contracts, from 2005 to the present McKay Lodge Art Conservation Laboratory has held the contract for conservation of the federal Public Art collection, as well as architectural features of the buildings throughout the National Capital Region (NCR) under the management of the U.S. General Services Administration. The National Capital Region encompasses Washington city, the District of Columbia, and all the surrounding counties.
The NCR Public Art conservation contracts are ID/IQ (Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity) contracts of 5 years each with extensions and very large. The 2010-2015 contract we held (extended through 2016) had a not-to-exceed limit of over fourteen million dollars ($14,800,000.00).
The DC conservation contracts and the NCR conservation contracts combined keep us in that region working on Public Art almost all the time.