St. Louis sculpture fans can now have a hand in taking care of public art.
Laumeier Sculpture Park in Sunset Hills is asking individuals and groups to help maintain and preserve its displays with a new adoption program. Adoptions start at $25 a year.
At the lower level, contributors get their names on Laumeier’s website and an on-site digital wall. For $50, they receive an adoption paper and a color photo of their sculpture. At the top level of $500, they get a private tour of the park with the park’s executive director. All donations are tax-deductible.
Many local residents can easily identify their favorites among the 60 different works of art, because they've already captured them in photos, said Michelle Siegel, the park's development officer.
“So many people have been married here or had their senior pictures taken here or even attended some of our signature events,” she said.
Siegel imagines people will give the adoptions as gifts or use them as group projects.
“I think it’s an ideal program for classrooms to adopt a sculpture — or Scout troops or volunteer groups,” she said.
Rain, wind, snow and sun take their toll on Laumeier’s sculptures, located on 105 acres. But weather isn't the only thing that harms them.
“It is, unfortunately, some vandalism,” Sielel said. “Of course, they are outside, so that happens.”
Upkeep isn’t cheap. In 2011, Laumeier repainted its signature red, 65-foot-tall modern piece “The Way” at a cost of $40,000.
Siegel said the program also will help educate people about the sculptures and give them a stake in their preservation.
“The nice thing is that it gets people involved in really taking care of public art,” Siegel said.
Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL