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Santa Monica Nuke Sculpture Landmarked, Still Unsafe For Kids

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The Santa Monica Landmarks Commission last night voted unanimously to designate the "Chain Reaction" sculpture as a cultural landmark, reports the Santa Monica Patch. The 26 foot tall sculpture, created by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Paul Conrad as a protest against nuclear proliferation, has been a fixture on the lawn at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium since 1991. Despite the new layer of bureaucratic protection, however, the work is still threatened by age, the weather, and, of course, hordes of rampaging children: "The dark, shadowy piece has corroded, the extent to which is still being researched, and could be removed from the city's public art collection if the community doesn't raise the money needed to restore it. City officials said its steel frame, which is encased in a fiberglass mold, has corroded and might not withstand a severe wind storm or the weight of children who climb on it like a jungle gym." The cost of restoring the sculpture is currently estimated at about $250,000 (a March report placed the cost at $432,172), but if the community can't come up with the money by mid-November, it may have to be decommissioned.
· Sculpture Gets Unanimous Landmark Vote [Santa Monica Patch]
· 8 Month Deadline Set for Sculpture Fundraising [Santa Monica Patch]