Restoration of Wood Mural at Chapman!
Did you know that students walk by an amazing piece of historic artwork at Chapman everyday? The wood mural is located in Chapman’s main entryway, surrounding the two doors into the auditorium. This art piece was created in 1938 by renowned female artist, Aimee Gorham, as a WPA/New Deal commissioned project. WPA stands for Works Progress Administration, and the goal of the WPA was to end the Great Depression by employing millions of people to build public buildings, roads, National Parks, as well as creating art projects throughout the nation.
Chapman' mural is titled, “Send Us Forth to Be Builders of a Better World,” and the mural bears the official "WPA Federal Art Project" brass plaque, which identifies the work as a public commission. The prolific artist, Aimee Gorham, created New Deal pieces throughout the Northwest, in schools/universities, churches, banks, museums, the Forestry Center and Timberline Lodge.
Chapman's wood mural has not been restored since it was created 78 years ago and it is in great need of restoration. Through the conservation of this piece, we plan to educate the students of Chapman about the cultural and historical importance of this public works piece, through specifically developed curriculum, presentations, art projects, and field trips, as well as an interpretive panel that will provide information to all interested students, community members and visitors to Chapman.
Chapman PTA has secured an Oregon Heritage Grant of $10,000 to restore this beautiful piece and we are fundraising the additional $10,150 for the full restoration of the mural by June 2016. Chapman PTA is committed to fund additional costs that are not secured through our fundraising efforts. This is not an insignificant commitment as PTA funding would be taken from other direct programs and services for students. Therefore, we are working hard and hope to secure funding from grants and private donations from our greater community. This particular effort is a great opportunity to ask the art lovers, history buffs and others you know in the larger community for support.
Any size donation will be appreciated!
Funding supporters for this project will be acknowledged on a plaque that will accompany a description of the mural and artist, starting at the $1000 level.
We are happy to provide a tour or offer additional details of the restoration of this beautiful piece.
Thank you for your consideration.
Chapman Elementary School
Art Ball Event
Join us at Art Ball on April 15 from 6-8pm, to learn more about Aimee Gorham and the amazing artcraft of wood marquetry. You will have the opportunity to create your very own “paper” marquetry piece using similar techniques Aimee Gorham used on the Chapman wood mural. This is the first step in educating the students of Chapman and our community about the cultural and historical significance of this public works piece.
How will funds be used?
The conservation treatment of the mural will be performed by Heritage Conservation Group, LLC (HCG) and will be conducted on-site to the highest standards conforming to the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC). Nina Olsson, the President of Heritage Conservation Group will act as project manager and conservator for the project. With 25 years professional experience in art conservation, she has extensive knowledge and experience with wood marquetry and the techniques used by Aimee Gorham. Olsson has given talks on Aimee Gorham and on New Deal art in Portland Public Schools at Oregon State University, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Portland Art Museum.
All treatment will be chosen according to conservation best practices standards. The treatment will address the structural damage, delaminated veneer will be stabilized with adhesives and other materials as determined through testing. All missing veneer sections will be replaced, a protective coating will be applied to the marquetry surface to provide a lasting, durable protective barrier. Photodocumentation and written report will be submitted at completion of treatment. The creation of an interpretive panel will provide information about the historical significance of the marquetry mural.
Timeline for the project
The conservation treatment will take approximately 6 weeks to complete, and must be conducted while students are not present in order to avoid exposure to solvents and other substances used during treatment. Due to the complication of over 700 elementary school student present on campus everyday, we plan to start and complete the project over the summer recess 2016, approximate dates occurring from June 13, 2016 to July 29, 2016.