Please don’t hold me to these numbers since I can’t find my notes, but recently I attended a McClain centennial planning committee meeting and it was mentioned that an art restoration project was underway on some of the school’s statues. Another project was completed last year. In total over $40,000 has been spent with much of the funding coming from the McClain Alumni Association and a special fund MHS grads have contributed to for several years. These attempts at preserving the uniqueness and history of McClain have resulted from a joint effort by the Board of Education and the McClain Alumni Association.
The restoration work has bee performed by Wiebold Studio of Cincinnati. Former superintendent, Terry Fouch, quoted Wiebold as saying the completed statuary now appears as it would have originally.
Wiebold’s website has this to say about McClain:
A gift in 1914 from entrepreneur and inventor Edward Lee McClain, this Georgian Revival-style high school contains a vast collection of paintings, murals and statues. Years of everyday wear and tear, as well as neglect, caused the building to be slated for demolition. But the community rallied to save the building and raised the funds for renovation and restoration of the art collection.
The building houses dozens of large plaster statues made to look like marble. Replicas of the world’s greatest statues, like Venus de Milo and Aphrodite, as well as busts of American leaders like George Washington were severely distressed. The Wiebold team made significant repairs to the statues and preserved them for future generations.
The project received numerous awards, including the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Historic Neighborhood School Honor Award. The School’s collection draws visitors from across the country.