Harvey-Damaged Houston Mural Repairs on Hold Due to Roof Work

November 29, 2018

Restoration work on a Houston, Texas, mural that was damaged during Hurricane Harvey have been put on hold because the building’s roof needs repairs.

John Biggers’ “Contribution of Negro Women To American Life and Education” mural won’t be able to undergo a full professional restoration job until enough funds are secured to repair the building’s roof, the Houston Chronicle reported .

The Houston Endowment has provided $258,000 for the roof repairs, but at least $200,000 more is needed.

“We’re praying again that some company will be able to help us,” said Charlotte Kelly Bryant, the founding president of the nonprofit Blue Triangle Multi-Cultural Association, which owns the building housing the mural.

The mural from 1953 includes Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth and poet Phillis Wheatley. It is located in the nonprofit’s headquarters.

After Harvey, rainwater seeped into the building’s walls, causing some of the mural’s paint to pop off and mold to grow.

The mural is one of Bigger’s largest masterpieces, said David Bomford, chairman of conservation at the Houston Museum of Fine Arts.

“It is one of the most important artworks in Houston,” he said. “It kind of transcends monetary value.”

Museum staff have partially covered the roof above the mural, used dehumidifiers and added Japanese tissue paper into the gaps in the mural in an attempt to stabilize the piece, Bomford said.

The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Texas Historical Commission has each given $30,000 toward the mural’s repair. The Kinder Foundation has also given $100,000 for the mural’s restoration and upkeep.

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