Mural Restored of Famous Porterville, CA Marching Bands – Maintaining Public Art

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Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator utilizing special resins for stabilizing flaking paint to preserve the mural

“Marching through Time” is a mural that needed some help to keep on marching as it was flaking so badly that many had lost hope. But the original mural artist Glen Hill found art and mural conservator Scott M. Haskins who knew exactly how to deal with the problems in order to help it to continue to march through several more decades.

The free-standing 17-by-100 feet mural located at Centennial Park across from Porterville City Hall was unveiled 12 years ago. The mural depicts the town’s now 100-year high school marching band history, and the city’s first four band directors — Frank Howard, Bill Robbins, Frank “Buck” Shaffer and Dale Anderson in the settings of the national attention they achieved in their competitions.

Twelve years ago, due to misguidance – they used materials that diminished the mural by accelerating the aging.  “This mural has only been here 10 to 12 years but the paint and resin layers are peeling as if it was painted 50 years ago. Its condition is a real mess.”

Haskins, Chief Art Conservator at Fine Art Conservation Laboratories, FACL, in Santa Barbara was contracted to oversee the restoration of the mural after the Porterville City Council approved the restoration and repainting on Sept 20. On that day, the Council also approved cannabis dispensary revenue in the city to help fund the restoration. Haskins was hired to preserve and stabilize the flaking paint layers so that the original artist, Glen Hill, could do the touch up and repainting with the expectation that this restoration would be good long term. In addition, after Hill has completed the pictorial restoration, Haskins will return to apply a protective coating that has been chosen by the mural maintenance dept of the Dept. of Cultural Affairs in Los Angeles to protect public art against graffiti. The “anti-graffiti” that is applied makes it possible to remove the graffiti without damaging the paint of the mural, Haskins said, with the varnish coming from a mural guard company in Costa Mesa.

Haskins has worked all over the United States conserving fine art. Two weeks ago, he worked on a mural on the United Nations in New York. He has also done major mural restoration projects in Dallas, Salt Lake City, and next week will be working on WPA – Works Progress Administration – projects in Los Angeles.“We are the only professional art preservation services for painting conservation in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City… so, we get around” he said.

Haskins spent Tuesday and Wednesday working on the first phase of the mural conservation— stopping and fixing the deterioration of the mural. During our visit on Wednesday, he looked through his cell phone and pointed out photos he had taken as he worked Tuesday on areas with severe peeling, and on areas where previous touch-ups didn’t match. “It looked awful,” he said, adding that the paint itself had turned “chalky” and was rubbing off.

Haskins also talked about hydrolysis being a problem— the chemical breakdown of a oils in the paint due to reaction with water and sun. “The main thing is stopping the flaking and delamination. That is the most important as it seeps into smaller crevices and we get stabilization.”

The second phase includes the return of artist Glen Hill to the mural for touch-ups. Haskins discussed the valuable collaboration, “We stabilize it, then Hill makes it look great, aesthetically, and then we return to make sure the public art is protected (as much as possible),” Haskins said. “In the end, you get a mural potentially here for decades and looking fantastic.”

Helping Haskins in the restoration is an area high school sophomore, Christian Rogers from Elenore Roosevelt High School in Exeter. ‘A good worker’ who has helped his father on buildings and construction sites, Haskins said.

Rogers helped Haskins complete the upper half of the mural on Wednesday. As he painted on the solution, Rogers talked of how it “seeps into the picture so the color becomes brighter.”

Denise Marchant, a founding member of the Porterville mural committee who has worked to bring the art of murals depicting local history to Porterville, called the project dear to her and the Porterville community. She’s credited with the tenacity to pull all the right people, the experts and arrangements together.

“The mural committee is so excited that the restorative work on the “Marching Through Time Band Mura”l is underway. It is amazing to see what the professionals are able to do with the right materials to bring it back to life,” Marchant said on Wednesday. “This is a three-phase process that will take multiple months to complete, so we do have to be patient to see the final result. I am so thankful that the community, and especially the City Council, have seen the importance of supporting the renovation of this historical mural that has become a focal point for downtown.”

Marching Through Time by Glen Hill, 2008, after it restoration in 2023

Scott M. Haskins, Art Conservator, applying the final varnish and anti graffiti layer to the “Marching Through Time” mural in Porterville, CA

In the photo you can see that I’m doing everything I can to protect the red, white and blue and symbol of our freedoms for future generations to remember and defend! Postponed because of rain a month ago, today and yesterday I am in Porterville California. (past Bakersfield, and kind of by Fresno), to put the final touches and protection on the mural “Marching Through Time.“ It’s a city maintenance project and we worked with the artist to make the 100 foot mural look at the best. This final work of applying a protective varnish as one of three phases: first, we had to preserve it by stopping flaking. Then the artist came to do touchup, and finally we are here to protect it for the future. Applause for the city of Porterville for maintaining its public art as part of taking care of their city. This work has a social conscience.

@PublicArtMaintenance @ScottMHaskins @ChristianRogers @MuralRestoration @ArtConservation @MuralConservation @Porterville @MarchingBand @ArtRestoration @GlenHill

Questions, call Scott M. Haskins 805 564 3438

For questions about varnishing murals and anti-graffiti protection layers, see these three videos may be of interest:

  1. Why Protect A Mural With Varnish If There Is No Danger Of Graffiti? … and
  2. How a hard varnish on murals can minimize maintenance of public art : …
  3. MuralGuard varnish for easier removal of graffiti:

Flaking paint was rampant on the mural

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About Scott M. Haskins

Scott Haskins has been in professional art conservation since 1975, specializing in the conservation/restoration of easel paintings, murals and art on paper. FACL, Inc. is known nationally for doing A+ work no matter the size or difficulty of the project. We are happy to do a quick cleaning on a family heirloom. Our client list and resume is also full of very satisfied clients of large, difficult/complicated projects at remote locations. Excellent services are also available as an Expert Witness/Legal Testimony in art related matters. Consultation on art related projects occur regularly including extensive insurance evaluations for insured or insurer. Services are offered worldwide. Scott M. Haskins is also author of the "Save Your Stuff" series, educational information, materials and supplies to help people protect and save their treasured family heirlooms and collectibles at home and office. He can be reached at 805 564 3438. Video and written testimonials at
This entry was posted in FACL in the media, Murals, Saving Public Art and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Mural Restored of Famous Porterville, CA Marching Bands – Maintaining Public Art

  1. Sophie Thompson says:

    I only wish more people would be as passionate, driven and knowledgeable as Mr. Haskins. How would our world look and feel like if more people would be doing what they truly love doing? If money was not an issue, what would you absolutely love doing every day, for the rest of your life? Thank you for protecting these murals and for doing it with a smile on your face, Mr. Haskins.

  2. Bella says:

    Thank you for also trying to educate people and communities on why it’s important to protect these murals and how to do it properly, Mr. Haskins. Your hard work and persistence and always appreciated by a lot of us!

    • Emma, the problem is government or committees that support maintenance of pubic art. Every time pubic art gets creamed with tags and lets there, it is because politicians have siphoned away the money for something else. City maintenance and beautification isn’t a high enough priority.

    • Thanks Bella. Communities that have murals are usually always cooperative and grateful. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Allison says:

    Congratulations to Denise Marchant as I think she’s an important part in the protection and restoration of this and other murals. We need more people that know they need to call in experts and do exactly what needs to be done to protect important art items.

  4. Khloe says:

    It’s always so heart-warming to see Scott trying to save such important pieces. I especially love murals as they always tell a story and can “speak” to generations to come if we take care of these art pieces.

  5. Gabriel says:

    Scott, when possible, please include a lot more (10-15) before and after pictures. It’s good to see how badly some murals are before you start working on them and then see the amazing end results of your hard work. Thank you!

  6. Allison says:

    Congratulations to Denise Marchant as I think she’s an important part in the protection and restoration of this and other murals. We need more people that know they need to call in experts and do exactly what needs to be done to protect important art items.

    • Logan says:

      The City Council also deserves some praise for doing the right thing. Any city needs to take care of its murals, protect them and ensure they will be here for the next generations.

  7. Glen Hill says:

    Scott this comment was sent to me from Chair person Denise Marchant for my 5 weeks of repainting and later your sealing of the Centennial Band Mural 10’×100′;
    The coating process is complete!! Thank you for all of your efforts to do this! The Lord really lead you to Scott! It was great to have Silvia train with him. I know I’ll be working with her in the future. Happy Easter to you and the family!✝️

  8. Camila C. says:

    Been following Mr. Haskins for a while now and I can always feel his passion for art restoration. God bless you, Mr. Haskins and may you continue saving murals for a long, long time!

    • Thanks Camila, they say with the right habits, attitude and medical advances, I can expect to be productive till 140 years old. We’ll see.

    • Ryan says:

      I’ve had a chance to meet Scott and you can feel his positive energy, his passion and desire to keep these amazing art pieces alive and well for many decades to come. He might not know it but he is doing a lot of good for a lot of communities. Just imagine the joy people have when passing by such a mural and seeing it in pristine condition.

  9. Claire says:

    So sad to hear they aren’t using proper materials on such important parts of our history. Murals should be regarded as an integral part of a community and should be treated with care and attention. The anti-graffiti applied should be of the best quality, otherwise things will get messy, very messy.

  10. Jackson Wilson says:

    I don’t understand why when doing something like this you don’t ask around for experts? Why would you use any materials for such a delicate matter? It’s hard to believe that it has only been here 10-12 years. ALWAYS go for the experts and not just do what you think works. It usually doesn’t. Good luck restoring this, Scott!

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