Massive Mint Museum artwork set for restoration, thanks to Bank of America grant

A signature, and singularly large, piece of art at Mint Museum Uptown is coming in for some restoration work, courtesy of Bank of America.

The Mint was just named one of 24 recipients for a grant this year from the Bank of America Art Conservation Project. It’s an impressive list of institutions and work, which includes paintings by Monet, Degas and Cezanne and museums like The National Gallery in London, the Guggenheim in New York and the Louvre.

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Anyone who has been to the Mint Museum Uptown will recognize the iconic piece that is due for conservation here.

It’s Sheila Hicks’ large-scale bas-relief “Mega Footprint Not Far from the Hutch (May I Have This Dance?)“ The sculpture is impossible to miss, since it’s right there on the west wall of the Robert Haywood Morrison Atrium near the museum entrance. It stands 80 feet high by 15 feet wide. Picture five giraffes stacked up one on top of the other, and you’ll get a sense of how big the work is.

It’s comprised of 42 sculptural components made from flexible synthetic and cork tubes wrapped in dyed and twisted linen thread. And those tubes are plumbers’ pipe insulating foam.

Sheila Hicks (American, 1934—). Mega Footprint Near the Hutch (May I Have This Dance?), 2011, sculpture in linen and cork. The Mint received a $40,000 grant from Bank of America to help conserve the piece.
Sheila Hicks (American, 1934—). Mega Footprint Near the Hutch (May I Have This Dance?), 2011, sculpture in linen and cork. The Mint received a $40,000 grant from Bank of America to help conserve the piece.

About The Mint conservation project

The Mint’s grant is for $40,000, and covers most of the $44,408 expected cost of the work, according to the museum.

Textile conservator Howard Sutcliffe will handle the surface cleaning and minor repairs over a two-week period some time between June and August. And he’ll do that work right on site too.

Annie Carlano, senior curator of Craft, Design and Fashion, will be the project lead, working with Che Machado, the Mint’s chief preparator, who will oversee the project.

One more thing.

Hicks’ piece originally debuted at Target’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis in 2003, when it was called “May I Have This Dance” and it was hanging horizontally.

But after Target decided to reconfigure its headquarters, the retailer ended up gifting the piece to the Mint, where it debuted in 2011, reconfigured to hang vertically.

About the Bank of America Art Conservation Project

Since 2010, Bank of America’s Art Conservation Project has helped with preserving paintings, sculptures and archaeological and architectural pieces that are important to cultural heritage and the history of art.

More than 260 projects in 40 countries that are managed by nonprofit cultural institutions have received funding from the bank to conserve “historically or culturally significant works of art that are in danger of deterioration,” according to the bank.

This year’s recipients are from the U.S. and 10 other countries, including Japan, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. There’s also one other N.C. institution on this year’s list of grant recipients, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.

“While the projects represent many different art movements, media, time periods and cultures, they all reflect the creativity, ingenuity and passion of the people who created these works,” said Brian Siegel, Bank of America’s global arts, culture and heritage executive, in an introduction to the report on the 2024 selections.

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