Southeast Corner Mural and Walls (2016)

As the first phase of the "Restore a Treasured Chicago Jewel" capital campaign, the southeast corner of the balcony was completely restored in the fall of 2016. It was in very poor condition due to water ingress from a leak in the roof that had caused the Bartlett mural to delaminate from the east wall due to crumbling plaster beneath it. There was also extensive plaster damage surrounding the Christ Blessing the Little Children window.

Kelly Plastering repaired the damaged plaster. Afterwards, Amber Schabdach of The Conservation Center conserved the mural. First, the 30 - 40 puncture holes  in the mural (caused by previous efforts to reattach it) were repaired with tiny canvas patches. Japanese paper was adhered to the back of the patches to help secure them in place. Then the mural was re-adhered to the plaster archway and the painted surface was gently cleaned using a mild solution of buffered ammonium citrate solution. A clear varnish was applied to protect the original paint and to provide a surface for paint retouching on missing or faded areas of the mural. The result is brightened colors and previously obscured details now revealed. Of note is the discovery of real gold leaf used for the angel halos.