Milwaukee's Bronze Fonz makeover underway, will look different

Happier days are ahead for one Milwaukee statue. The Bronze Fonz left its post on Milwaukee's RiverWalk for a touch-up.

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With a spritz here and a 2,000-degree flame there, it's safe to say the Bronze Fonz gives this makeover two thumbs up.

"When he gets back there, he’ll be looking good," said Michael Nolte, Vanguard Sculpture Services. "His paint was kind of chipped up, and people had stood on his shoulders and wore his jacket down."

Photo courtesy: Visit Milwaukee

Nolte said getting statue back to its post will take time.

"We took a glass bead blaster. We didn’t want to use sand because it has sharp corners, so we use glass bead and we totally took him all the way down to the bare bronze," said Nolte.

The next step in the process is a chemical that changes the statue's color.

Photo Courtesy: Visit Milwaukee


"Since the bare bronze is subject to corrosion, and it won’t stay looking good for long enough, we’re going to put a layer of controlled corrosion on the bare bronze," said Nolte.

As it turns out, the Bronze Fonz is no stranger to this art shop.

"At one time, he was a liquid pot of bronze on our pour floor, and we poured the liquid metal to congeal into this form," said Nolte.

Because this 200- to 300-pound statue attracts visitors, gets plenty of sunlight and stands by the water year round, the Bronze Fonz will still need yearly touch-ups after it returns to the RiverWalk.

"He’s on the loose," said Nolte. "You’d have to ask him when he’s ready to go back."

VISIT Milwaukee says the Bronze Fonz will be back on the RiverWalk soon, and he will look a bit different. The blue jeans and white shirt are out. They'll be bronze now. We're told it'll be easier to maintain.

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