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Restoration of Buckingham Page Army Air Field Monument to wrap up this month


Several weeks ago, the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee engaged Chris-Tel Construction to repair and renovate six of the City’s public art installations. Chris-Tel, in turn, brought in Miami-based conservators Rosa Lowinger & Associates to handle the work on the art component of each installation. So far, Chris-Tel and RLA have completed work on three of the pieces, the USCT 2nd Regiment Monument (which also goes by the nickname of Clayton), The Great Turtle Chase and The Florida Panthers. Work has only just started on Uncommon Friends, but Chris-Tel and RLA expect to wrap up the Wes Nott Memorial and the Buckingham & Page Army Air Field Monument by year’s end.

The Buckingham & Page Army Airfields Memorial consists of three granite markers placed in front of an airplane propeller from a World War II-era fighter. It honors the airmen and others who trained during World War II at Fort Myers’ air bases, Buckingham Field, a 65,723-acre flexible bomber gunnery school, and Page Field, which served as a training base for P39, P40, P47 and P51 fighter pilots. It was erected by the City of Fort Myers in 1991, but the name of the artist who actually crafted the memorial is not known.

While the granite markers only needed to be cleaned with a conservation-grade detergent, the propeller and ferrous metal pole on which it’s mounted both required considerably more work. Both showed signs of considerable corrosion and while RLA initially expected to simply strip and repaint the post and propeller, its conservation team discovered large losses in the metal on the underside of the nose.

To deal with the problem, the conservators will fill the holes in the propeller and post with an industrial epoxy and then paint the nose with a chrome paint to look similar to its current aesthetic.

You can learn more about the monument and all that it memorializes on the City’s free phone app called Otocast. An audio that informs the public about the Monument has been recorded by the Executive Director of Fort Myers’ IMAG History & Science Center, Matt Johnson. Matt has a special connection to the two army air fields. He and journalist Chris Wadsworth co-authored a book on the Buckingham Army Air Field and know more about the Buckingham & Page Army Air Fields than just about anyone living in Southwest Florida. In the audio, Matt shares interesting, little known facts about the air fields and describes the impact that they had on the growth and development of Fort Myers in the post-war years.

Rosa Lowinger & Associates specializes in the conservation of built heritage, a term that encompasses art, architecture, museum collections, and public spaces. Rosa Lowinger is a recognized international expert in conservation and a specialist in modern and contemporary sculpture, architecture, and public art. She has been in private practice since 1988. Each of the company’s senior staff has been in practice for no less than 5 years and as a team, RLA has a combination of 50 years of experience carrying out conservation, cultural resource documentation, restoration, and historic remediation projects for architecture, public art, and sculpture in stone, masonry, concrete, metals, ceramic tile, terracotta, wood, plastic, plaster, terrazzo, linoleum and mosaics.

The Buckingham & Page Army Air Field Monument and each of the City’s other 69 public artworks are administered by a 9-member Public Art Committee (which consists of 7 voting members and 2 alternates) that was established by an ordinance that was adopted by the City Council in 2004. Members serve for three year terms, are not compensated, and must either be a resident of the city, work in the city, or be a member of an arts board or committee that is located in the city. The Public Art Committee oversees the commissioning, review, installation and maintenance of public art within the City. It meets in public session in City Council chambers on the third Tuesday of each month. Its next meeting is December 18.

December 7, 2018.



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