A special ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the Father Marquette statue to commemorate the statue’s restoration project in downtown Marquette Monday night.
The Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee has been raising money for the restoration for several years, and a large crowd gathered to show support.
Giorgio Gikas, a conservator from Venus Bronze Works in Detroit, did the restoration. He fixed two reliefs on the statue.
“He (Gikas) did a meticulous restoration of the reliefs of the statue,” Vice President of the Beautification and Restoration Committee Barb Kelly said. “They’re three-dimensional scenes, one on either side of our statue. And even though there are some similar (Father) Marquette statues, ours is the only one that has reliefs.”
“We have this culmination of this fabulous restoration, and we wanted to share it with the whole community.”
The project has been in the works for nine years. One of the reasons the restoration has taken so long was because the committee was trying to find a conservator to do the project.
“We put out a serious search for a world-class conservator,” Kelly said. “That led us back to Giorgio, who had already been here (in Marquette), and got us going in the first place when he came with an angel project and cleaned the statue. So we actually already knew him.”
The Beautification Committee took the statue away from the City of Marquette for a year to do the restoration project, and tonight they gave it back to the city.
The restoration project has raised around $31,000 of its $110,000 goal for more restorations. Other improvements to be done include accessibility and landscaping.
Events to celebrate the statue and Father Marquette are take place throughout the summer. For a list of events, visit the City of Marquette’s website.