By John Wildermuth
Dab of paint by dab of paint, the $1.7 million rehabilitation of Coit Tower is moving closer to its April completion.
While much of the major roofing and waterproofing work on the Telegraph Hill landmark is either done or in its final stages, a team of art restoration experts is still on the job, doing touchup and repair work on the colorful Depression-era murals that cover the tower’s inside walls.
“There is a lot of interest in this project,” said Phil Ginsburg, general manager of the city’s Recreation and Park Department, which oversees Coit Tower. “We’re thrilled to have made an investment in a really, really important civic asset.”
On Thursday afternoon, Anne Rosenthal, who led a 1989-90 restoration effort on the murals, was back in front of the Public Works of Art Project artwork, holding a brush and a palette of paints as she studied photos of the murals as they originally looked.
While she works to fix the many dings and scratches that have marred the murals over the years, other teams have restored the stucco that frames the huge murals, and replastered and repainted the ceiling in a light mushroom tone to better display a very political view of San Francisco in the 1930s.
Centerpiece of project
“Everything we do leads to the perception of the murals,” she said.
While the mural restoration itself is only a $250,000 piece of the project, the artwork has driven all of the restoration work.
“The work on the murals is essentially meaningless without the other work we’re doing,” Ginsburg said.
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