Photo: NYC Parks / Malcolm Pinckney

As the 25th season of NYC Parks’ Citywide Monuments Conservation Program (CMCP) commences, a team of skilled conservators and trainees have started making the rounds to clean, recoat and treat several major monuments throughout the five boroughs. On Friday, this year’s three new seasonal apprentices worked with staff using ladders and a boom lift to preserve Richard Hunt’s Harlem Hybrid along with other sculptures in Harlem.

The award-winning Citywide Monuments Conservation Program is a public/private partnership that was launched in 1997 to help care for permanent artworks in New York City’s parks and train the next generation of conservators. Through the program, year-round professional conservation staff work with seasonal trainees selected from college and graduate programs in historic preservation, objects conservation, art history, and fine arts.

Over the course of the summer, the apprentices will work on numerous monuments across the city, gaining hands-on experience while caring for the city’s rich collection of outdoor statuary and monuments and participating in professional development and educational field trips.

Harlem Hybrid is a site-specific assemblage sculpture made of polished and welded industrial bronze by Richard Hunt (born 1935), one of the foremost African-American sculptors in the United States. As part of the inaugural week’s efforts, staff also visited Allyson Saar’s Swing Low: Harriet Tubman Memorial (2007), the Alfred Lincoln Seligman Fountain (1914) by Edgar Walter in Morningside Park, Frederick Augustus-Bartholdi’s Lafayette and Washington monument (1900), and James W.A. MacDonald’s heroically-sized bust of General Hancock (1886).

CMCP is supported by individual, corporate, and foundation grants; the City Parks Foundation is its fiscal sponsor. For more information, visit the website.

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