The granite sculptures along Preston by artist c j fleury are both carved and painted. The carved elements– grape leaves and vine on this sculpture — she highlighted with black paint. Over the winter, a lot of this paint faded or even washed-off completely. Most heavily affected was the Marco Polo sculpture by the Plant Recreation Centre, where most of the colour disappeared. This might have something to do with salt, since it is just north of the salt-infested Somerset-Preston intersection. Is it coincidental that most of the hardy plants surrounding the Marco Polo sculpture also seem to have suffered severe die-back during the past winter? (the same types of plants in other beds along the street did not die back at all).
It surprised me to see the restorers using black spray paint to add the colour. They sprayed the whole piece of granite, then wiped off the paint from the polished granite areas leaving it in the carved recesses. It appeared to me to be ordinary spray paint too. For another neighbourhood project involving granite, the supplier told us of “tombstone paint” designed specifically not to wear off tombstones. But then, few people are buried along the Preston side-walks, although Bell seems to fear so, since it is constantly re-digging up the brand-new side-walks in search of something or someone.
Apparently, when the City awards the 2% street art funding, some is set aside for ongoing maintenance. Since the project is relatively new, they are still learning just how much maintenance and cost will be required to keep the sculptures attractive. And attractive they are, being popular with merchants, residents, and attracting visits from organized tour groups.