Angels Come to Father Marquette in Marquette, Michigan
It is not a miracle but it was an unexpected surprise to the city of Marquette when their Father Marquette Statue was selected for the first Michigan Alliance of Conservation Cultural Heritage (MACCH) Angel Project. The wonderful statute given to the city by its citizens in 1897 will be conserved at no cost through the generous donation of Giorgio Gikas of Venus Bronze Works and MACCH.
The Michigan Alliance for the Conservation of Cultural Heritage is a non-profit state-wide 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.
Three Alliance Board Members Giorgio Gikas, William Fritz, and Susan Wilczak, were key in identifying and selecting this first MACCH Angel Project. Giorgio Gikas, owner of Venus Bronze Works (conservation foundry in Detroit) had collaborated with William Fritz, Conservator of Mackinac State Historic Parks to conserve an identical bronze statue of Father Marquette (1909) on Mackinac Island in 1998. This Mackinac Island conservation project was the nexus for the selection of this angel project for Marquette, Michigan. Gikas and Fritz knew of the Marquette bronze statue in Marquette, Michigan and its need for similar conservation treatment through the survey of outdoor sculpture project SOS. 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, Save Outdoor Sculpture!