Restoration of Wichita State's Miro mosaic is 'worth the wait'
In September 2011 after 33 years of being exposed to the elements, work began on the deinstallation of Wichita State’s marquee piece of art – the 26-foot-by-52-foot Miro mosaic on the facade of the Ulrich Museum of Art.
One by one, workers removed 80 panels – a total of 1 million tiles – and sent them off to Russell-Marti Conservation Services based in California, Mo., to be refurbished.
Now more than two years into the project, 25 percent of the panels have been fixed – a process that includes removing the original particleboard backing of each tile, repairing the glass and cleaning each surface.
Work is on schedule to be completed in 2016.
“The conservation team has now hit their stride,” said Jessy Clonts, director of public relations for the Ulrich Museum.
Paying for the restoration of the Miro is a long-term process. The goal is to raise $3 million. Last year, the Ulrich received two grants: $60,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts, and $150,000 from the Institute for Museum and Library Services. That brings the total to more than $2 million.
Fundraising includes applying for more federal grants and encouraging public support through the “Be a Miro Hero” online campaign.
Soon the Ulrich will install an educational exhibit about the Miro restoration in the museum, which Ulrich Director Bob Workman hopes will further encourage public interest and donations.
“It will be five years from removal to reinstallation, so that's quite a long time to not have our best work of art not on view,” he said. “I think the anticipation and excitement is really building during this long restoration process. But everyone also knows the great importance of this mural and wants it to last for future generations. It will definitely be worth the wait.”