Muskegon’s public works of art receive funds to help preserve them

MUSKEGON, MI – Muskegon has benefited from multiple public art donations over the past century, and now it has been endowed with a fund to care for it.

A $50,000 donation from Patrick O’Leary, whose previous donation sparked the latest public art initiative, will be used to preserve the city’s public art collection.

These works of public art range from several Hackley Park statues donated by community benefactor Charles Hackley and dedicated in 1900 to newly painted murals on railway viaducts.

“While I am proud of the latest works of art commissioned over the past three years for the city, I am also concerned that there are adequate resources to care for all of the works,” O’ said. Leary, the former executive vice president and chief financial officer of SPX Corp., said in a prepared statement. “I am pleased to be able to help preserve Muskegon’s great art, and I trust this city team to care for it.”

Among the city’s works of art are the first statue of President William McKinley, dedicated in 1902, after his assassination in 1901; three downtown murals acknowledging the city’s past; a statue of a snurfer turned snowboarder and a bronze statue of silent film star Buster Keaton. There is also a new modern lighted sculpture on Père Marquette beach; and an abstract ode to the city’s lumber industry at Heritage Landing Park, a police memorial at the courthouse, and a large juggernaut seemingly emerging from a manhole in front of the history museum.

A statue of Charles Hackley seated on a bench and a “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” statue in front of the World War II landing ship USS LST 393 near downtown are also among the city’s approximately 50 significant public works of art. town.

Later this month the new Public Art Preservation Fund will pay for the valuation of the 12 bronze sculptures in Hackley Park and the statue of McKinley in the old Hackley administration building nearby.

“It is vitally important for the city to be good stewards of these wonderful works of public art, and O’Leary’s latest donation of a public art preservation fund will help preserve these community treasures for generations to come,” said Muskegon Mayor Steve Gawron. a prepared statement.

O’Leary donated $250,000 to launch the Muskegon City Public Art Initiative fund in 2018, which has since grown to around $1 million. He has funded five recent art installations with several more planned.

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