Rumor Control: “Dream Garden” Fans Can Rest Easy
Word came to us via one of our frequent online correspondents that a rumor is circulating that “Dream Garden,” the Lewis Comfort Tiffany mural in the lobby of The Curtis, was going to be put in storage by the building’s new owner and redeveloper.
Readers may recall that when casino mogul Steve Wynn announced plans to buy the stained-glass masterpiece and move it to one of his Las Vegas properties, the civic establishment rose up almost as one to say, “Over our dead bodies.” The attempt led to a major addition to the city’s historic preservation ordinance that allows individual objects inside buildings to be protected as well as their exteriors.
Which made this rumor somewhat strange, given the mural’s protected status. An employee of a gym that had been located in the building informed us that workers in the building’s employ had told her that Keystone Property Group, which owns The Curtis along with Mack-Cali Corp. and is remaking it into a mixed-use office/retail/residential building, was seeking to have the mural’s protected status lifted so that P.J. Clarke’s, a bar and restaurant that will occupy the 6th and Walnut corner on the main floor, can expand into the lobby area. (The gym, which was in the building’s basement, closed to make way for a bowling alley.)
We have it on good authority that this rumor is flat-out untrue. That authority would be Keystone President Bill Glazer, who informed us yesterday that Keystone doesn’t even own “Dream Garden.” The mural, he said, is now owned by—and thus part of the collection of—the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Neither PAFA nor Keystone have any plans or desire to move the mural out of its central location in the building lobby.
Now, if P.J. Clarke’s management hopes to put some seating in the lobby, we would object only slightly. The added noise might startle visitors out of their dream state as they contemplate the mural, but it would make a great backdrop.