Bureau of Cultural Affairs Awarded
the SOS! Monumental Defender Certificate
at Booker T. Washington Sculpture Re-dedication
By: Alonzo Craig For Immediate Release
(Atlanta, GA) - The City of Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs received the Save Outdoor Sculpture!(SOS!) Monumental Defender Certificate, at the re-dedication of its latest public art restoration located at Booker T. Washington High School. The certificate is a tangible note of appreciation for the significant efforts put forth by the Bureau of Cultural Affairs to preserve a vital part of our nation’s heritage for the next millennium. The SOS! Program, a nationwide initiative of Heritage Preservation and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, granted the original monetary award to help Atlanta preserve this artistically and historically significant public outdoor sculpture.
This bronze statue, created by Charles Keck in 1926, is named "Lifting the Veil of Ignorance." Since its original dedication in 1927, time, progress, nature and vandals have taken their toll. Well known conservationist, Theodore Monnich of Columbia, South Carolina, completed the restoration treatment in May 2000 and the landmark has been returned to its original appearance. The statue has been added to the SOS! 2000 Honor Roll of preserved outdoor sculptures. Camille Russell Love, Director of the Bureau of Cultural Affairs states "the restoration of this statue honors all Atlantans, for this is one of the city’s most significant examples of public art. In particular, we salute all those who attended the school, past, present and future, by returning the art work to its original splendor."
Washington High is currently under the guidance of principal Dr. Shirley Kilgore and is one of Atlanta’s most historic centers of education. Famous graduates include civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; television star, Julius ‘Nipsie’ Russell; Georgia’s first African American State Senator, Leroy Johnson; baseball star, Don Clendennon and countless politicians, college professors, judges, newsmen, physicians and attorneys.
The SOS! program is made possible with generous support from Target Stores and the National Endowment for the Arts. First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton announced the program in July 1998 as part of the White House Millennium Council’s Save America’s Treasures initiative. Clinton said "This remarkable effort will help monuments stand proudly and fully preserved for the new century. It is an example of how we can rededicate ourselves to preserving what is best about America. It is up to all of us to preserve our heritage."