Expert restores statue of Jesus

first_imgA pedestal reading “Venite ad me omnes,” Latin for “Come to me everyone,” still stands on God Quad, but the invitation currently lacks a speaker. The pedestal normally supports the Sacred Heart of Jesus statue, which has stood there since 1893, according to the Notre Dame archives, but this image of Jesus was removed in late November for restoration. Charles Loving, director and curator of the George Rickey Sculpture Archive at the Snite Museum of Art, said he put the University in touch with Thomas Podnar, a sculpture conservator from the McKay Lodge Conservation Laboratory in Oberlin, Ohio. Podnar is to restore the Sacred Heart of Jesus and three other campus statues: Notre Dame (Our Mother) at the north end of Notre Dame Avenue, Father Sorin on God Quad and Thomas Dooley near the Grotto. Loving said the University reached out to the outside conservator because he will be better equipped to meet their restoration goals. “If we had done nothing, it would have just rusted out and collapsed, so [the number] one [goal of the restoration is] to ensure its long-term preservation,” Loving said. “[The number] two [goal is] to make it look like what it looked like initially.” Loving said Podnar restored the other three campus images without removing them, but the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue had to be transported to Ohio for proper refurbishing because it had suffered extensive damage from “weather and age.” “There’s probably some atmospheric fall of pollutants from places like Gary, Ind., and East Chicago, but primarily just weather,” Loving said. “Like an old car, eventually the paint will wear off. Many of the sculptures are not painted metal. Many are cast bronze, but that particular one is cast iron.”  Because the Sacred Heart of Jesus Statue is painted, most of the restoration entails stripping paint from the statue, repairing cracks in it and repainting it, Loving said. “The paint is coming off and in places it’s cracking, so it was removed,” he said. “They’ll chemically take off the paint. They’ll repair the cracks by welding them and somehow finishing them so the welds don’t show, and then they’ll repaint it.” Loving said Podnar will attempt to recreate the original paint color of the statue, which will look quite different from the weathered version the campus is accustomed to seeing when the statue returns next February. “It might be a little shocking to some people, but in the long term it’ll be good for it to have been preserved so it’s there for future generations,” he said. “It’s something that any sculpture requires over time. It doesn’t suggest any deficiency in the way it was manufactured or the way it’s been taken care of. It’s just part of the process.” Even though restoration is an important part of maintaining outdoor statues, Loving said the University does not have its statues restored very often. He said he believes this is the first time since 1893 the statue has been repaired.  Within the past five years, members of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Gettysburg noticed damage on the statue of Fr. William Corby outside Corby Hall, a copy of which also stands in Gettysburg, and raised funds to restore it, Loving said. “It’s kind of nice when people who are alums or friends of Notre Dame recognize the need and come up with the money,” he said. “As far as I know there’s no existing budget line to take care of these statues.” Contact Tori Roeck at [email protected]last_img read more

Top five Dutch schemes ride equity rally to boost funding levels

first_imgThe latest figures became evident as industry schemes PFZW, ABP (civil service), PMT, PME (both metal) and BpfBouw (construction) published their annual and quarterly reports. Not only did the funds generally benefit from higher share prices, they also benefited from interest rates rising. Although the interest rate fell slightly in the last quarter of 2017, the discount rate for liabilities rose from 1.3% to 1.5%.Despite the boost to funding levels, only BpfBouw was able to increase its pensions for this year, as its funding level was above the required 110%. The scheme decided to index pensions by 0.59%. The other funds are damping expectations when it comes to indexing or averting cuts.“In all likelihood we will not be able to increase pensions much, if at all, in the coming five years,” ABP chair Corien Wortmann wrote in a press statement.“At the end of 2019 our scheme’s policy funding ratio has to reach at least 104.3%,” PME chairman Eric Uijen said. “We are not there yet. For this reason we cannot rule out pension reductions in 2020.”PFZW also warned of possible cuts if their policy funding ratio remained below 104.2% until the end of 2020.The differences in investment returns appeared to be large, with the lowest return almost half the amount of the reported highest return.With a 4.1% return PMT achieved the lowest result. ABP saw its assets grow by 7.6%. Interest rate and currency hedges have been included in these figures.ABPThe civil service scheme – the largest pension fund in Europe – showed the biggest increase in its policy funding ratio. It rose by almost 10 percentage points to 101.5%, mainly due to the returns on shares and real estate. Its total assets were worth €409bn at the end of 2017.PFZWThe healthcare workers fund booked a return of 5.1%. PFZW suffered losses on its insurance portfolio (-13.3%) due to the severe hurricanes hitting the US last year. The scheme also had to write off millions on structured loans, following an adjustment of the valuation model.BpfBouwBpfBouw’s assets increased by €3bn due to a return of 6.4%. Equities accounted for 10.9% and real estate for 9.9%. BpfBouw invests a relatively large portion of its capital (17%) in real estate. The scheme lost 1.2% on its interest rate hedge. The policy funding ratios of the Dutch pension schemes for metal workers PMT and PME have risen above 100% for the first time in years.Other large pension funds in the Netherlands also reported a boost to their policy funding ratios, mainly due to rising equity markets.The policy funding ratio is the 12-month average funding level upon which Dutch pension funds must base their policy decisions – in particular whether they can grant inflation-linked uplifts. Healthcare sector scheme PFZW was the only one of the Netherlands’ top five with a policy funding ratio below 100%, recording 98.6% at the end of December. Metal industry schemes PME and PMT hit 100% funding in 2017PMEPME recorded a return of 4.7%. The scheme achieved a 15.3% return on shares, and 7.3% on real state. The matching portfolio, which accounts for almost half PME’s assets, lost 2.8% of its value.PMTPMT showed an outcome comparable to that of PME, although this pension fund achieved somewhat lower returns on equity and real estate. On the other hand, the losses on its matching portfolio were as high as PME’s, resulting in a lower return overall (4.1%).last_img read more