Faster than a speeding bullet, work on the Superman statue across the river in Metropolis is scheduled to start today.
The Metropolis Chamber of Commerce recently selected the two companies to take on the project of renovating the iconic statue.
The bronze statue, unveiled June 5, 1993, is 15-feet tall and weighs 6000 pounds. The statue was first created as a 26-inch bronze mock-up and after being accessed by the original Superman statue committee — Mary Horman Castleman, Jenny Walters, OD Troutman and Don Salisbury — project manager Barron Walton of Highland, Utah, was given the green light to proceed with the full-size sculpt and casting of the statue. Artist Gary Ernest Smith was selected to sculpt the 15-foot Superman figure in clay, which was then cast in bronze at Metal Letters Inc., a foundry in Lehi, Utah.
“The statue has been touched up and repainted several times over the years, but with buildup of paint and effects of the elements, the Metropolis Chamber made the decision that a complete renovation was long overdue,” said Karla Ogle, a member of the Superman Statue Renovation Committee, along with Ericca Arthur and Joshua Reagor. “The Chamber is excited to put the renovation in action.”
The layers of paint will be removed down to the original bronze and a high-tech paint system will be applied.
West Ky. Painting, LLC., of Paducah, was selected to remove the paint using glass beads as the blast medium to protect the details of the statue. Once the paint has been completely removed, Blackhound. LLC., of Lawrenceville, Georgia, will take over the renovation by applying a three-layer marine grade coating. The new paint application is rated to last as long as 20 to 25 years. The renovation will continue to use the traditional Superman colors fans are familiar with.
The work is expected to take approximately a week to complete. Scaffolding will be erected, and the Superman statue will be covered during the blasting and paint application.
“Unfortunately, during the renovation, visitors will be unable to enter the base area for photos,” Ogle noted. “But, they can look forward to getting their picture taken very soon with a bright new Superman.”
Updates and photos of the progress will be posted on the Metropolis Superman Statue Facebook page.
The work on the statue is being filmed by Blackhound, LLC., and will be included in a documentary being produced to be shown at a later date.
To fund the project, the Chamber of Commerce restarted the brick campaign which originally funded the statue project. Seven hundred blank bricks will be able to be replaced when mortar repairs are made in the spring 2021. Bricks are still available for a limited time and are $100 for a 4-inch-by-8-inch engraved brick. The bricks may be engraved with up to three lines of text and each line may have up to 13 alphabetic or numeric characters and includes any spacing or punctuation.
After the statue is renovated, additional work will include painting of the railing, reapplication of shadowing on existing bricks, and improvements on the Superman shield base, all of which will begin in spring 2021.
A rededication ceremony is planned for June 2021 during the annual Superman Celebration when all work will be completed.