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$600,000 Already Raised For Permanent Kiss Statue

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Officials from the USS Midway Museum have raised over half the funds necessary to build a permanent version of "Unconditional Surrender," aka the "kiss statue," in the same spot along the Embarcadero where the current version stands.

Representatives from the USS Midway Museum announced today they've raised $600,000 of the estimated $900,000 necessary to build and install a permanent bronze version of "Unconditional Surrender." The new version will be installed in the G Street Mole Park, in the shadow of the USS Midway, where the current statue stands.

The 25-foot-tall statue of a sailor and nurse embracing in a kiss, is on loan to San Diego and has to be returned to its owner by mid-May. The 6,000-pound sculpture, which is a rendition of an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in New York, has been on loan to the Port since 2007. The statue has divided public opinion in San Diego about standards for public art.

The Midway Museum will now begin a public campaign to raise the additional $300,000. Midway president Mac McLaughlin says the Midway will match the first $100,000 donated by the public. "The bronze version will ensure it's life here for hundreds of years," says McLaughlin.

The $900,000 will pay for landscape architecture, which includes a new walkway up to the statue, and a new mount. According to McLaughlin, the Consul General of Japan would like to plant cherry blossom trees around the statue.

The Port's Board of Commissioners approved the proposal for a permanent version of the statue last month. The vote was controversial, with high profile members of the Port’s public art committee resigning in frustration.

The permanent bronze sculpture will be unveiled in December of 2012.

Stay tuned for updates throughout the afternoon.

On March 23rd, Midway President Mac McLaughlin and architect Donald Reeves were on KPBS-TV's Evening Edition, talking about their campaign to build a permanent kiss statue.

Campaign for Permanent Kiss Statue

Midway President Mac McLaughlin and architect Donald Reeves talk about their plans to build a permanent, bronze version of "Unconditional Surrender."

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