1. St. Petersburg

Red chair artwork at county court building disappears, for now

The art installation, called Face the Jury, is being refurbished

ST. PETERSBURG — The red chairs that have drawn attention on the lawn of the Pinellas County court system's 501 Building in St. Petersburg since 2006, have disappeared — temporarily.

The public art, comprising of 13 metal chairs and titled Face the Jury, are being restored.

"It's actually a really, really wonderful thing that is happening, because it is going to come back in all its wonderfulness for residents and visitors to enjoy. That's the cool thing that the county has made a commitment to do that," said Barbara St. Clair, executive director of Creative Pinellas.

The work by artist Douglas Kornfeld cost $90,000 and was paid for by Pinellas County. Desmond Clark, co-owner of St. Cate Fine Arts, which is handling the restoration, said the firm is consulting Kornfeld for the refurbishment, which is expected to cost $69,000.

"There is some corrosion happening with the pieces," Clark said. "That happens with pieces that are made out of metal. We live in a harsh environment for metal pieces. New technologies now help to mitigate and slow down the process of corrosion and we're taking advantage of those technologies now."

The chairs were removed starting on Jan. 11 and their places marked with wooden frames. The frames are to protect curious people who venture behind the orange safety net that envelops the site from tripping on the chairs' foundations.

The restoration process includes blast cleaning the chairs to remove the current layer of paint, rust and debris. Repairs are being made as directed by Kornfeld and a treatment will be given to mitigate rust. A protective layer of red powder coating will complete the restoration, Clark said.

The sculptures will be returned to their place across from St. Petersburg City Hall on April 3.