Angel Project 2005:
The Hiker, a Spanish American War Memorial in Ypsilanti Michigan
The 2005 Michigan Alliance for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage MACCH Angel Project has been selected. It is the outdoor sculpture in Ypsilanti called by various names, The Hiker, The Traveler and the Spanish American War Memorial. Located at the junction of Cross St and Washtenaw Ave on land called Allison’s Point, this sculpture is administered by the city of Ypsilanti. The Hiker was dedicated May 18, 1940 and will be conserved through the generous donation of Giorgio Gikas owner of Venus Bronze Works and MACCH Board Member. The wonderful statute originally produced in 1907 for the Jamestown Exposition was dedicated at a reunion of the Michigan Spanish War Veterans held in Ypsilanti in 1940. It honors the 31st Michigan Volunteer Infantry who were the first to be mustered for the war with Spain.
Two Alliance Board Members Giorgio Gikas, and Susan Wilczak, were key in identifying and selecting this second MACCH Angel Project. Giorgio Gikas, owner of Venus Bronze Works (sculpture conservation firm in Detroit) will conserve the sculpture during the week of September 12, 2005 starting that day and continuing until the work is completed. The sculpture was selected for conservation through the survey of outdoor sculpture project SOS. In 1993 and again in 2000 surveyors identified this sculpture as needing conservation treatment. Susan Wilczak, Curator at the Krasl Art Museum supported this selection as she administers the files for the state based survey of sculpture that is part of the national campaign, SaveOutdoorSculpture.
The Michigan Alliance for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage is a non-profit statewide organization whose mission is to raise awareness among Michigan citizens of the value of our cultural resources and the necessity to protect and preserve them. Conservation is also part of the mission for the group and the Angel Project is one means that the Alliance is moving both goals forward in a concrete way. “The Angel Project is just one way we in the Alliance are pooling our expertise and resources to help preserve the wonderful cultural heritage in our state,” said Jeanne Drewes, current President of MACCH and Assistant Director for Access and Preservation at the Michigan State University Libraries.