Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Conservation & Maintenance

NOTICE: Removal of Camp Seneca Totem Pole
The Camp Seneca Totem Pole, created in 1988 by artists Terry Boquist and Hobart Reitan, will be removed in late August 2019. The intention of Montgomery Parks and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) was to conserve this work and re-install it. Under the direction of AHCMC, a professional conservator conducted an assessment of the condition of the artwork. Deterioration at the core has completely compromised the structural integrity of the artwork due to major wood decay. The wood at the base of the sculpture is extremely degraded and will not support the weight of the sculpture for much longer. After consulting experts across the country on best practices for the preservation of totem poles, it was determined that this sculpture is too degraded to be repaired and is recommended for removal before it becomes a public hazard. The Camp Seneca Totem Pole, created in 1988 by artists Terry Boquist and Hobart Reita is a public sculpture not a religious artwork and is not associated with any indigenous or native peoples.

Maintaining Montgomery County’s public art is an important responsibility of AHCMC. Each work of art is an investment. AHCMC’s maintenance program helps to protect the art and preserve it for the public’s enjoyment for years to come.

The acquisition of artwork carries with it the responsibility for and commitment to maintaining the condition in which it was meant to be enjoyed by the public. Conservation for a public agency or arts non-profit requires a team effort of knowledgeable administrators, conservators, and the cooperation of the County. Host agencies are responsible for ordinary maintenance of the artworks, following the protocols established by the artist. The Trust is responsible for capital maintenance and conservation of permanent artworks that have been formally accessioned into the Collection as well as the Works on Paper Collection. These projects are managed by the AHCMC Public Art Trust Manager and a team of conservators led by Howard Wellman.

In 2017, AHCMC prioritized assessing, maintaining, and conserving exterior sculptures in Montgomery County’s public art collection. The following conservation and maintenance processes were completed or initiated: 

Conservation of 4 Public Art Works 

  • The Juggler (1989, Silver Spring) by Marcia Billig - Woodside Urban Park 
  • Wind Harps (1992, Damascus) by Rodney Carroll - Damascus Recreation Park 
  • Starting a New Life (1989, Rockville) by Ken Lonn - Rockville Pre-Release Center 
  • Gateway of Esteem (1985, Kensington) by Lisa Kaslow - Crossway Community Center 

Maintenance/ Treatment of 4 Public Art Works 

  • Cousins (2007, Silver Spring) by Tom Block - Kennett St. Garage 
  • Bear and Club (1988, White Oak) by Azriel Arwet - MLK Recreational Park. 
  • Plunge (1992, Poolesville) by Azriel Arwet - Western County Swim Center 
  • The Lion (1989, Silver Spring) by Marcia Billig - Silver Spring Library. 

Condition Assessments of 6 Public Art Works

  • Animals of Forest Glen (2006, Silver Spring) by Raya Bodnarchuck - Forest Glen Pedestrian Bridge 
  • Long Branch Village Project (2007, Silver Spring) by Byron G. Peck - Long Branch Community Center. 
  • Inner Light (1987, Sandy Spring) by Marcia Billig - Sandy Spring Museum 
  • The Commuter (1989, Wheaton) by Marcia Billig - Wheaton Metro Center. 
  • Made in the Shade (1989, Rockville) by Ann LaRose - Lake Needwood Visitors Center 
  • Bus Shelter Panels, (2003, Germantown) by Nikolai Pakhomov - Germantown Transit Ctr.

In general, conservation estimates range from $2,500 to $41,270. Following conservation, artworks should be regularly maintained, at least on a three year cycle, at an average cost of $1,000. Ideally one third of the 350 County-owned artworks should be maintained each year. 

To learn more about past conservation activities, check out the following articles:

 To report public art in need of conservation or maintenance, please email

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Silver Spring, MD 20910
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