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Supporters of Santa Monica’s “Chain Reaction” to Hold Fundraiser Saturday

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
By Jorge Casuso

April 24, 2013 -- Supporters of Paul Conrad's “Chain Reaction,” which is in danger of being dismantled, will hold a fundraiser Saturday night to help pay for repairs that would save the iconic 26-foot-tall sculpture.

The concert at Rusty’s Surf Ranch on the Santa Monica Pier will feature performances by the New Roads Jazz Band featuring Kaya Mandissa and Miguel Castellanos, The Lefteous Sisters, Sessions and The Walls. The event will go from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students.  Chain Reaction T-shirts and books written by Pulitzer-Prize-winning cartoonist Paul Conrad, whose anti-nuclear sculpture has been a staple of the Civic Center for more than two decades, will be on sale.

Supporters have raised about $10,000 and have until January to come up with the balance of the money needed to make the necessary repairs. Although all parties agree that repairs to the sculpture need to be made, the cost and extent of those repairs range widely.

The City initially estimated that the sculpture would need anywhere from $227,372 to $423,172 worth of repairs, an amount which staff considered prohibitive. But a report conducted in November by art conservationist Steve Colton put the cost at between $80,000 and $295,000.

The Council has set aside $20,000 for any immediate patching up the sculpture would need while its ultimate fate is determined. It also has committed $50,000 to further repairs if supporters can raise the balance needed.

Last month, former mayors Denny Zane, Michael Feinstein, Judy Abdo, Jim Conn, Paul Rosenstein, Ruth Goldway and Nat Trives, whose careers collectively span more than three decades of Santa Monica politics, signed a letter to support the fundraising efforts.

Supporters have rallied behind the effort to save the iconic sculpture, with local activist Jerry Rubin going on a hunger strike in support of the mushroom-cloud-shaped sculpture made out of chains.

In addition to lobbying the City Council, supporters last July successfully urged the Landmarks Commission to designate the sculpture a local landmark. The decision, however, does not guarantee the sculpture will remain if the City determines that it poses a threat to public safety.

The 22-year-old sculpture was deemed unsafe after structural engineers retained by the City found that many of the fasteners that attach the copper tubing chain to the fiberglass core were either missing, not fully imbedded or exhibited severe corrosion. More tests will need to be conducted to determine the exact cost of making the statue safe, according to staff.

In order to ramp up the fundraising effort, Paul Conrad's son, Dave, started working with long-time grant writer Abby Arnold.

Supporters plan to solicit funds from larger organizations and conservancies which may be able to contribute more money than individuals. But first, they want to drum up a significant part of the cash themselves.

For more information about “Chain Reaction,” visit To buy tickets for the April 27 event, visit:

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