Facelift for Stanford totem poles

Outdoor art needs special treatment, even when it’s made out of trees. Stanford’s two totem poles carved and painted by Pacific Northwest artists recently got respectful facelifts by two fellow artists trying to preserve the original spirit.

Art Thompson’s “Boo-Qwilla,” which has stood in Dohrmann Grove since 1995, and Don Yeomans’ “The Stanford Legacy,” near Crown Quad since 2002, both needed cleaning and repainting. Enter the Cantor Arts Center, which detailed the project on itsĀ "Cross-Sections" website.

The Cantor’s Elizabeth Saetta cleaned the towering artworks and added preservatives to keep insects away. Then came artists and husband-and-wife team John Livingston and Maxine Matilpi. Livingston was a longtime friend of the late artist Thompson, and he and his wife clearly have great respect for the art of the totem pole. The pair were careful to use only paint that matched the originals.

Above are before-and-after photos of “The Stanford Legacy,” a totem pole that incorporates figures representing the Leland Stanford family. What do you think of the results?

To read more about the project, check out this Stanford Report article.

Photo from the Cross-Sections site.

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