The Maryland State Arts Council has awarded $50,000 to the Parent Teacher Organization at Mount Royal Elementary-Middle School to start the restoration of Arthur Benson’s Nut and Bolt, 1982 metal sculpture, with completion expected in the fall.
An additional $20,000 is needed to complete the major restoration work, consultation of conservators, documentation, a wall plaque celebrating the artwork and its conservation, curricular programs, and a dedication event, according to Lauren Ross, an art conservator, who with Florencia Gutierrez, a BHCA board member and PTO leader, are leading the PTO project.
Benson, now nearing the age of 90, was a Bolton Hill resident and a Mount Royal EMS parent when he constructed the monumental structure 40 years ago. He served as faculty chair of the undergraduate sculpture department of MICA for 30 years.
Nut and Bolt is in the public art collection of the City of Baltimore. It was commissioned by James Pettit of the architecture firm Ayers Saint (now Ayers Saint Gross) in 1981 and funded through Baltimore City’s “Percent for Art” Program. It was conceived as an aesthetic enhancement of an architectural footbridge connecting the school’s learning spaces. The footbridge required vertical footing supports for stability, so Benson clad the bridge and cleverly disguised the footings with a painted design scheme inspired by TINKERTOYS®, a toy building system invented in 1913.
The PTO will host a virtual popcorn fundraiser from Feb. 21–25. Folks can host their own pop-up shop to raise funds for the school or they can just buy popcorn from others who have set up a pop-up for their child. For those interested in setting up their own pop up: Join Mt Royal EMS PTO’s fundraising Event by downloading the Double Good app and entering the Event code: WTN GAO. Click here to download Double Good https://dgpopup.app.link/d/1WZimpTFinb.
Interested in contributing to the fundraising campaign? Email email@example.com or donate through PayPal on the page: https://www.mountroyalschool.com/pto. Please specify that funds go to support the sculpture.
– Lauren Ross