Mural saved from destruction at SJ airport

SAN JOSE, Calif.

The 20-by-30-foot mural was painted by California artist Millard Sheets and given as a gift to the community in 1976 by the San Jose Mercury and the San Jose News in honor of the city's 200th anniversary, airport officials said.

The mural was unveiled in 1977 in what was at the time the main terminal, later known as Terminal C.

When Terminal C was scheduled to be demolished as part of the airport's modernization project last year, it was uncertain what would become of the mural, airport officials said.

The city's Public Art Program conducted an investigation with art conservators to find a way to preserve the mural in a cost-effective manner but were faced with a number of obstacles.

"We wanted to find a solution that allowed us to save and relocate the mural before heavy equipment began taking down the building last summer, but we were concerned that the painting would be damaged beyond repair," senior public art project manager Mary Rubin said in a statement.

The Public Art Program flew Sheets' son, Tony Sheets, down from his home in Oregon to help. Millard Sheets died in 1989 and his son had already saved five of his father's murals from destruction.

After five long, painstaking hours, Tony Sheets and members of the construction crew managed to peel the mural from the wall with minimal damage, airport officials said.

Crews spent several months getting the mural ready to be remounted inside Terminal A. It was re-hung on Tuesday evening near Gate 15, with final touch-ups and repairs finished by Thursday night, airport officials said.

Copyright © 2024 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.