french fry facelift at springfield art museum

Springfield Art Museum French Fry Facelift

Springfield, MO. (August 25, 2016) – The iconic Springfield landmark Sun Target II, known around town as “The French Fries,” looks a little different these days. Prep work has begun on John Henry’s abstract cor-ten steel sculpture and two other sculptures on the Museum’s grounds by Ernest Trova. This prep work is the beginning of the public art’s restoration process, set to begin in earnest on Monday, August 29 in order to take advantage of fair weather.

The Museum raised $17,100 to make improvements to the grounds, the bulk of which came through the successful #SaveTheFrenchFries Campaign for Give Ozarks Day. Among the many donations received, the campaign won the first prize for overall marketing campaign from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks. Over 220 nonprofit organizations participated in this year’s event.

Sun Target II was acquired by the Museum in 1980 with assistance from the Missouri Arts Council and the Ola E. McAdoo bequest. Prior to finding its permanent home in Springfield it was exhibited in Chicago, New York City, and Atlanta. It has since become a defining piece of Springfield’s cultural landscape and its local identity. However, 30 years of outdoor public display have taken their toll, necessitating the need for this conservation work.

In addition to “The French Fries,” Ernest Trova’s AV/T.S.C., a gift to the Museum in 1980 by Alvin Siteman, and ABSTRACT VARIATION (X), a gift to the Museum in 1981 by Trova, will be restored to their former glory. Restoration work is estimated to take a month depending on weather conditions.

Museum Director Nick Nelson notes, “Our proper stewardship of these works of art means that they will be able to be enjoyed by future generations. I’m also very proud to say that the funding for this project came 100% from private donations. It is amazing what our generous community can do when we work together to safeguard and preserve works of public art.”

Museum Educator Kate Baird often uses Sun Target II during her school tours. “It provides a unique way to talk to students about shapes, point of view, spatial reasoning, relationships, and perspective. It doesn’t just have aesthetic value; it is a valuable teaching tool.”


The Springfield Art Museum is Springfield, Missouri’s oldest cultural institution, founded in 1928. A department of the City of Springfield, we are dedicated to enhancing the education and documenting the cultural heritage of the people of southwest Missouri through the collection, preservation, and exhibition of art objects. For more information, please visit