AURORA | No amount of patching, primping or paint has been enough to save a decaying baseball glove in the Aurora Sports Park.
A roughly 6-foot-long concrete sculpture of a baseball glove, originally cast by artist Rik Sargent, is in the process of being deaccessioned by the Aurora City Council and the city’s Art in Public Places Commission due to excessive maintenance fees, according to city documents.
The city has spent a total of $13,192, or about $1,000 a year, in attempts to maintain the so-called “Glove Bench” since it was installed at Aurora Sports Park in 2002, according to an April 7 memo sent from Tracy Young, manager of the city’s Parks Department. The piece, which was installed by Sargent for a fee of $38,500, began deteriorating about a year after it was created in June 2003, according to Young’s memo. Maintenance attempts have included repairing cracks in the concrete, power-washing, and unclogging a drain. The most expensive attempt at fixing the piece came in 2008, when the city contracted a firm called Concrete Doctor to power-wash and sandblast the glove, as well as resurface it, for $4,800.
“It is impossible to keep the piece looking good,” Young wrote in her memo.
Both Sargent and related city agencies agree that the time has come for the glove’s demise.
“The artist is in agreement that continued maintenance will not remedy the situation and the piece will continue to deteriorate,” according to minutes from the May 3 meeting of the city’s public relations, communications, tourism, libraries and citizen groups policy committee.
However, the departure of the bench will be disappointing, according to Young.
“Precisely because it is such a popular piece, recorded in many team photographs over the years, the deterioration of the artwork is painfully apparent to everyone,” she wrote in her memo.
The latest phase of ongoing renovations at the Sports Park were completed earlier this spring.
The deaccession marks an unprecedented move in Aurora, according to Roberta Bloom, public art coordinator for the city. She said that this will be the first time the city will have nixed a creation from its public collection.
Bloom said that the glove will eventually be replaced by another piece of public art.
“There will be plans to replace it with another piece of art and to make whatever changes we need to make to make this piece successful,” she said.
The AIPP Commission, Cultural Affairs Commission and Public Relations Policy Committee all signed off on deaccessioning the glove at their respective meetings earlier this spring. The item passed out of a recent council study session and council members are expected to hold a final vote on fate of the mitt at an upcoming meeting.
Pending council approval, the dismantling of the glove won’t begin until teams have ceased using the nearby baseball fields for the season, according to Bloom.