Hall of Justice art installation restored

July 15, 2011 7:41:31 PM PDT
The San Francisco Arts Commission unveiled the first restoration of its ArtCare initiative this morning outside of the city's Hall of Justice building.

Located at the corner of Seventh and Bryant streets, the 30-foot sculpture titled "Hall of Justice" by late San Francisco artist Peter Voulkos had "aged and weathered its fair share of vandalism," said Interim Arts Director JD Beltran.

The restoration was accomplished with $35,000 raised from private donors. The sculpture was repainted and a protective wax coating was added to prevent further damage to the large metal sculpture.

San Francisco police Chief Greg Suhr said he was grateful that the sculpture was the first chosen for restoration by the arts commission.

"We want it to stay in the pristine condition it's in now," Suhr said.

The piece was the first commissioned by San Francisco's Art Enrichment Ordinance in 1969.

Voulkos's widow, Ann Adaire Voulkos, said the restoration crews "did a first class job with it."

She said Voulkos, who completed the sculpture in 1971, cast most of the sculpture in a studio they shared in Berkeley.

"He had a big crew working with him, it took years to do," she said.

She said an engineering firm also worked on the project to make sure the inner structure of the piece would remain stable for years to come. "He was very grateful to be in the field of art," she said.

She said her husband also put a ceramic dog inside a hollow portion of the sculpture, a small joke that came from his quirky personality.

Voulkos was born in 1924 and died in 2002. A graduate of California College of the Arts, he also was a molder apprentice in Seattle and on the crew of an airplane in World War II.

San Francisco is home to 4,000 public artworks worth $90 million, according to Beltran. She said that ArtCare would continue to be a bridge between the public and private sectors to keep public artwork maintained so residents may enjoy it for years to come.

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