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Umbrella Man gets his gimmick back

assorted color straight umbrella hanging on black wire
Photo by Adrianna Calvo on Pexels.com

By Douglas Reynholm | The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live

Umbrella Man has his umbrella again.

The downtown public artwork called “Allow Me” — a 36-year-old statue of a well-dressed businessman holding an umbrella over his head as he tries to hail a cab — lost his protection from the elements late last year.

The bronze sculpture’s umbrella shaft was bent in October by an unknown vandal or vandals, and the following month the non-profit organization Regional Arts & Culture Council removed the umbrella for repairs, leaving the man holding only his brolly’s handle just as the rainy season started.

The statue, popularly known as “Umbrella Man,” has been a signature presence rain or shine in Pioneer Courthouse Square since 1984. The work was created by J. Seward Johnson Jr., a sculptor who, wrote The New York Times, “may be responsible for more double takes than anyone in history thanks to his countless lifelike creations in public places.”

Johnson, the grandson of a founder of pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, died of cancer last year at 89.

Workers reattached the umbrella to the “Allow Me” figure on Sunday, Regional Arts & Culture Council communications manager Heather Nelson Kent told The Rose Cityian/Rose City Live by email.

“We will be returning to touch up the weld points on the top of the umbrella with paint,” Kent said.

She added that the organization also would give the man in his bespoke suit a thorough cleaning sometime in the spring.