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Arts & Culture

Conversation Swirls Around Permanent Kiss Statue

Architectural renderings of the permanent bronze version of Unconditional Surrender. A fundraising effort is underway to build and install the statue.
Architectural renderings of the permanent bronze version of Unconditional Surrender. A fundraising effort is underway to build and install the statue.

The USS Midway Museum announced they've raised $600,000 for a permanent, bronze version of "Unconditional Surrender," the 25ft statue of a sailor kissing a nurse. The museum and supporters need to raise over $900,000 to build and install the statue in the G Street Mole Park along San Diego's waterfront, where the current on-loan statue resides.

Here's a round up of what people are saying online and in social media about this latest development in the Kiss statue saga:

On the KPBS Facebook page:


Patricia Sinay writes: "Wish we could raise that for our schools."

Heather Collins Dudas responds to Patricia: "@ Patricia, ask the school board what they are doing with all of that lottery money. The money raised for this statue no doubt comes from the pockets of private individuals who want to see a bronze statue. The significance of this piece is extraordinary and so meaningful. If i had the money I would donate to the cause."

Axel Ambrios gets to his point quickly: "What a waste. This statue is HIDEOUS!!!!"

On Twitter (@Culturelust):

Local arts promoter Susan Myrland worries about collateral public art decisions:


"Next up: Kinkade Mural." She's referring to the immensely popular painter Thomas Kinkade who passed away last week. He was not popular with critics, but according to his own website, his paintings hung in every 20 homes in America.

On my Facebook page:

Local painter Dan Adams objected to the statue's combination of materials: "Bronze, but painted. Wow, these here are some real artistes we are talking about, hee haw!"

Here on our website:

Peking_Duck_SD says the choice of a permanent "kiss statue" gives him one more reason to leave San Diego:

"If this statue represents San Diego, then San Diego doesn't represent me. Maybe it's better for this fair city by the sea and for my own creativity to let the statue win and for me to leave."

Susan_M chimed in: "Why does the Port even have a public art commission and a strategic plan if the process can be overruled by anyone who can raise a million bucks? "

She may be referring to the sudden resignations of members of the Port's public art committee in protest of Port's Board of Commissioners' decision to accept a permanent version of "Unconditional Surrender."

The U-T lists the names of the six major donors who each pledged $100,000 for the permanent Kiss statue. They include Malin Burnham and Doug Manchester, publisher of the U-T. Manchester is quoted in his paper: "As a major donor, we really need to have that great work of art to be retained on our waterfront, which represents one of the happiest memories in the U.S. and perhaps the world."

The statue is based on a famous WW II photograph taken in New York City's Times Square on the day the Japanese surrendered in 1945.

The Midway also launched the public fundraising campaign yesterday. San Diegans can donate in person or via text.

The permanent statue seems inevitable. The Midway Museum is going to match the first $100,000 donated by the public. Midway officials say the statue's already been cast in bronze and is sitting in New Jersey, where it will be painted to look like the current statue that's been here since 2007.

Mac McLaughlin, president and CEO of the Midway Museum said at yesterday's press conference: "The statue will be in bronze to insure that it will be here for hundreds of years to come and withstand the weather."