In 2010 Creative Victoria (then Arts Victoria) took over management of the Collingwood site where the mural is situated and a project was initiated to conserve and protect the mural.
The project intended to bring back the mural’s visibility and vitality, allowing people to once again see the mural the way Keith Haring intended.
In line with the mural's Heritage listing, a Heritage Victoria permit was required before works could commence. The permit, granted in August 2012, allowed for:
- Research and technical investigation works
- Works to protect the mural from UV damage
- Repair and reinstatement of damaged or lost paint and render
- Retouching of red and yellow paint subject to technical investigations
- Cleaning and consolidation treatments, and
- Landscaping works in the surrounding area.
Following an international call for submissions, renowned conservator Antonio Rava was appointed as the lead conservator on the restoration project.
A specialist contemporary art conservator, Antonio Rava travelled to Australia from his native Italy to undertake the project. Antonio is the Vice President of the Italian Institute of Conservation and in addition to working on contemporary artworks he has also undertaken conservation on works by old masters, including late 13th century painter Giotto.
Prior to working in Australia, Antonio, in collaboration with America conservator Will Shank, undertook conservation work on another Haring mural, the large-scale Tuttomondo mural in Pisa Italy.
Antonio’s appointment was praised by the US-based Keith Haring Foundation, who have described Antonio’s work as ‘extraordinary’.
His work on the Collingwood mural to date has brought back the original colours and Haring’s characteristic vibrancy. It will ensure that this mural, painted as a gift to the people of Collingwood, will continue to be enjoyed by passers by and local, national and international art-lovers for many years to come.