The old-fashioned clock in Monument Square in Portland on Monday. The clock has been turned into a work of art while money is being raised to repair it.
By Bob Keyes
The old clock in Portland's Monument Square will get a makeover thanks to a community art project spearheaded by the Portland Rotary in collaboration with the Maine College of Art.
For the past several months, MECA illustration students have filled the non-functioning clock face with narrative, eye-catching designs. On Monday, they gathered to celebrate the culmination of the project and announce a plan to raise money to restore the clock to working order.
The circular designs will be sold at auction to raise money for restoration and maintenance, estimated to be about $26,000. The city installed the clock in 1975, and it has steadily deteriorated.
Cyrus Hagge, Rotary president and arts supporter, grew tired of looking at the clock, and approached MECA about doing something creative to bring attention to it.
Hagge teamed with MECA illustration department chairman Scott Nash to create a series of designs for the clock. More than a dozen designs have been placed in the clock face since last summer, bringing life to the long-neglected timepiece.
"It's so much fun to take something invisible and make it visible," Hagge said.
It will cost about $17,500 to fix the clock itself, which is corroded and rusted. Another $5,000 will pay for replacing the base and foundation, and the auction sale of student-designed clock faces will raise another $3,500 for a maintenance fund.
To date, the Rotary has raised about $14,000 toward the clock repair, and the city has pledged $5,000 for the base and foundation.
Chris Bowe of Longfellow Books, which faces the clock, gave Hagge a check for $500 to purchase an illustration created by MECA student Peter Rimkunas, a picture of the Time and Temperature Building with a spaceship hovering overhead.
A couple more designs will go up before the clock and its base are taken down for repair, Hagge said. It should be replaced by late spring or early summer with an auto-correct GPS controller. The dial markings and hands will match the original 1975 design.
Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:
The old-fashioned clock in Monument Square in Portland stands with One City Center in the background.