Saint Paul— The community is invited to rededicate the Schiller sculpture with triumphant fanfare and choral voices on Saturday, May 11 at 10:00 a.m. The rededication will be held at the Schiller sculpture site near the Como Park gateway at Lexington Parkway and Eastbrook Drive. In case of rain, the program will move indoors to the Como Park Visitor Center Auditorium.
The re-dedication will feature a Minnesota Chorale performance of Ode to Joy from Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Saint Paul City Councilmember Amy Brendmoen will officiate, along with Honorary German Consul Christa Tiefenbacher Hudson, Saint Paul Parks and Recreation Director Michael Hahm, and Public Art Saint Paul President Christine Podas-Larson. University of Minnesota Professor Rick McCormick will speak of Schiller, and students of the Twin Cities German Immersion School will recite a Schiller poem.
For 105 years, a sculpture of German literary giant Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805) has presided over the gateway to Como Park. It was commissioned from artist Ignatius Taschner by Saint Paul’s German American community and gifted to the City in 1907. Having braved over a century of Minnesota winters, this cultural treasure has been completely restored by Public Art Saint Paul.
At the beginning of the restoration, the bronze metal was badly pitted, unstable and actively deteriorating and the surface was streaked with green and blue copper carbonate corrosion, as well as black crusty sulfur-based deposits. There was also considerable damage to the bronze self-base and the sculpture had accumulated decades worth of graffiti and carving.
In partnership with Saint Paul Parks and Recreation, in 2012, Public Art Saint Paul engaged conservator Kristin Cheronis to undertake the sculpture’s restoration. She worked on site at Como Park August through October, allowing Como Park visitors to monitor Schiller’s progress toward full restoration. Cheronis and her team completed their work in October, and through the long winter Schiller has awaited re-dedication.