Adele Wolford, clipboard in hand, turned away from inspecting the popular bronze statue To Life at the east end of Wenatchee’s pedestrian walkway and greeted her interviewer in mid stride. “I’m working,” she called out cheerfully, gesturing to a clipboard with her maintenance notes.
As a founder, board member and curator of Art on the Avenues (or AOTA), she’s intimately knowledgeable about over seven dozen pieces of public art on the Loop Trail and on downtown streets, having carefully burnished most of them.
Adele explained the process of cleaning a bronze piece: washing (“five drops Ivory in five gallons of water”), waiting, waxing, waiting, buffing. “We generally take about four hours on each sculpture,” she said.
The we is figurative. Often, it’s Adele herself doing the handwork, but the city’s new ownership of the carefully-acquired pieces means that by next summer Parks Department employees, personally tutored by her, will be scrubbing the sculptures.
Adele’s great pleasure is sharing and encouraging art in her community. In addition to steering AOTA and BOB (the whimsical name for the Beauty of Bronze project), she’s also been closely involved in the past decades with Allied Arts and the creation of the Performing Arts Center, all gratefully acknowledged by a 2015 Stanley Lifetime Achievement Award.
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