Historic Seal Pond Mosaic Murals Need Repair

Seal Court mosaic

The colorful mosaics that grace the outside walls of the raised pond in Seal Court provide an atmosphere of beauty and whimsy in a popular gathering place for the Scripps College community. But the historic murals are aging. First created by art students in the early 1940s, with additional panels added in the 1960s and 1970s, some of the murals are in fair to poor condition, according to architectural conservators. The panel at the bench on the west-facing side of the pond has many tesserae loose or missing. Others show long vertical cracks and extensive water damage.

To oversee the restoration and preservation of this artistic treasure, the College established a Seal Pond Mosaic Murals Advisory Committee, chaired by Professor of Art Nancy Macko and Merrilee Stewart Howard ’70 and composed of faculty from diverse fields, students, and alumnae. Jennifer Minasian Trotoux ’92 brought in Architectural Resources Group (ARG), Inc., a full-service architectural firm based in San Francisco with an office in Pasadena, to assist the College in planning for the stabilization and rehabilitation of the Seal Pond mosaic murals.

ARG recommended a two-stage process: First, assess each panel and character-defining features of the pond and its surroundings; assess structural and waterproofing concerns; consult arborists regarding any issues with the Chinese elm trees in the planters surrounding the pond; identify any desired changes or related side projects for new features or improvements. Second: clean, repair, restore, and/or stabilize the mosaic panels as needed, involving Scripps College art conservation students wherever possible. Emily Jensen Waldorf ’03 and Greg Waldorf have generously pledged a gift that will allow the College to begin the first stage. The College is seeking additional financial support from alumnae and friends to allow the murals to be returned to their original condition and preserved for the future.

 

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