The famous statue of two Navy sweethearts kissing on the San Diego waterfront is just $300,000 away from being forever preserved in bronze, the USS Midway Museum's officials announced Thursday.
The "Unconditional Surrender" statue has been on loan to the Port since 2007. On Thursday, the museum's president Matt McCloughlin announced that donors have already pledged $600,000 toward the nearly million-dollar bronze replacement.
"The bronze has already been poured," McCloughlin said beneath the giant urethane statue on Thursday.
The bronze replacement will cost upwards of $900,000, perhaps toward one million dollars, he said. Commissioners for the Port's public art committee agreed to keep a version of the statue after the loan expires in May, as long as they could raise enough money.
The statue's replacement has drawn major criticism from local leaders and members of the public. Two of the port's public art commissioners quit after the board decided to keep the statue. However, support for the statue's message convinced the museum to campaign for a replacement.
Six donors were responsible for the $600,000 already raised. The remaining $300,000 is expected to come in the form of public donations. The Midway will match donations up to $100,000 as part of the campaign titled "Save the Kiss!"
The museum hopes to close out funding before memorial day, when the current statue leaves. A ceremony to unveil the bronze replacement will be held in December.