Byline: Taylor Hill SAN DIEGO — Site work has begun for the placement of a permanent version of “The Kiss,” a sculpture that became extremely popular when it was temporarily exhibited in San Diego last year. The artwork will be located near the USS Midway Museum. The sculpture, which is modeled after Alfred Eisenstadt’s famous photograph, “V.J. Day in Times Square,” depicts a sailor embracing and kissing a nurse at the announcement of the end of World War II, just as the picture did in Aug. 1945. Formally titled “Unconditional Surrender,” the permanent 25-foot sculpture has been cast and is awaiting preparation of the site next to the USS Midway Museum at Tuna Harbor Park. The plan calls for a textured hardscape plaza surrounding the sculpture, benches, new landscaping featuring Japanese friendship cherry trees, and night lighting. The entire $1 million project, including the cost of the sculpture, has been funded by community donations and was spearheaded by the USS Midway Museum. USS Midway Museum spokesman Scott McGaugh said the group is hoping to have the plaza and sculpture ready for a tentatively scheduled Feb. 16 ribbon-cutting ceremony. The permanent statue is being installed to replace the foam urethane version created by artist J. Seward Johnson, which was first loaned to the Port of San Diego in 2007 for one year. The loan was extended a number of times, with the statue’s removal finally coming May 30, 2012, following the San Diego Board of Port Commissioners’ decision in March to accept USS Midway Museum’s offer to donate a bronze version of the sculpture to the Port of San Diego. Though the new sculpture will be bronze, it will appear identical in coloration to the piece that was formerly exhibited in San Diego.
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