Driving through Brea is like a touring an outdoor art gallery with sculptures created by nationally and internationally celebrated artists. With over 150 sculptures on display in 12 square miles, it’s easy to see why Brea’s Art in Public Places Program has become a model for other public art programs throughout the country. You may wonder, who owns the sculptures and who is responsible for maintaining them?
The vast majority of sculptures were commissioned by developers as a condition of approval for their development project. Sculptures are a fixed asset on the property and are owned by property owners.
Sculpture Maintenance Responsibilities
Property owners are responsible for maintaining sculptures in good condition, repairing damage, and replacing sculptures should they be damaged beyond repair or otherwise removed from the property. Fine art insurance is highly recommended and may require a special rider on your property insurance policy. Sculptures are to remain in approved locations in the condition intended by the artist unless otherwise agreed to by the city and/or artist. For complete details about sculpture ownership in Brea, please see Brea’s Art in Public Places Policy Manual.
For development projects built in the past 20 years, sculpture ownership, maintenance instructions provided by the original artist, and a sculpture maintenance funding source should be included in the Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R) for the project. If you don’t currently have a budget for sculpture maintenance, establishing one may save you time and money in the long run.
Sculptures in great condition can add value to your property, act as a draw for tenants and customers, and create an iconic landmark by which your neighborhood or business may become known. If you have questions about your sculpture or would like more information about the artist, maintenance requirements, or other sculpture ownership responsibilities, please contact Jenn Colacion at 714-671-4452.
Tips for Keeping Your Sculpture in Great Condition
- Clear dirt and debris away from the sculpture and the base regularly.
- Make sure sprinkler spray is directed AWAY from the sculpture and base. Ongoing water spray can cause major damage over time and may leave unsightly mineral deposits.
- Check sculpture lights regularly to ensure they are in good working order. Install a timer with a sensor to ensure the sculpture is lit from dusk to dawn. This may help discourage vandalism or theft and will help keep electric bills down.
- Check the sculpture identification plaque to ensure it is securely installed. Plaques are sometimes targeted by thieves.
- Trim any bushes or trees around the sculpture that may drop plant material or sap on the sculpture. Relocate fruit producing trees or shrubs or plants that attract birds in the area immediately around the sculpture to discourage the buildup of bird guano on the sculpture.
- Regular cleaning using the right materials may help to prolong the finish of your sculpture. For many sculptures, cleaning may be as simple as using a specially made soft brush to remove dirt and debris and using water and a mild detergent to clean the sculpture. Contact an art conservator familiar with maintaining and restoring outdoor sculpture and ask if they can train you or your staff to perform simple ongoing maintenance, such as cleaning and waxing.
- Contact an art conservator right away if damage to your sculpture occurs. Restoring damage as soon as possible after it happens may save the sculpture from further damage and save you from higher restoration costs.
* These tips are provided for informational purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of a professional art conservator or other sculpture professionals.