Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mural to Hibernate ( 'til spring '13 )

Mounting this mural will not be easy.

It comes as no surprise with a mural project of this scale that the permanent mounting will be a formidable undertaking, especially now that the planning committee has decided that the superstructure will be engineered to hold the fifty 4' x 8' panels up so that the bottom will begin ten feet in the air. This means that the top of the mural extant will soar a full thirty feet off terra firma. Considering that the surface of the mural is a whopping one-thousand and six-hundred square feet, it will constitute an engineering challenge to overbuild the structure to withstand the inevitable force of what can amount to gale force winds here on the Canadian prairies. That is a huge 'sail'! 

In the coming months, we will be unveiling the master plan for the dedicated site where the mural will be installed, just south of Young School facing the #2 highway. The plan is to erect the mural on its own site complete with a drive-in access off the highway, a rest stop with washrooms and of course a viewing bench at the so-called 'sweet spot' where the view is optimal. I mention this because you will find that a certain distance is required for the best viewing experience...too close a viewing position will be counter-productive as it is so huge that the whole thing will not be visible. I don't think there will be any issues with distant viewing; I have looked at the mural from as far away as bout 100 feet (inside the rink) and can report that a distance of twice that far would still be well within reason.

Taking this into consideration, the committee has in their wisdom opted to contract with an engineering firm in Saskatoon to draw up and certify the plans for the steel structure that must be over-built by a factor of X10 to ensure that it truly is permanent.

Thankfully, we have a very generous corporate sponsor in place that is underwriting the cost of engineering. Now the trick is to generate the final chunk of financing required to pay for the actual steel, cement and hardware that the engineers will call for with their plans.

Nor will it be cheap.

Word on the street is that the cost of erecting this mural will likely surpass the fees that I have required for my professional services as the designer and painter of the mural proper! 

But it WILL happen. In the spring of '13.

Recalling that the mural was painted inside the hockey rink at Young, it only stands to reason that as the weather evolved from fall to early winter, it was imperative to clear out of that space to allow the rink committee to proceed with preparing the natural ice for the onslaught of the hockey season, as the Young rink hosts a very busy agenda of games starting pdq.

Although I would be the first to freely admit that this 'process' is about as exciting as watching paint dry, I thought I would faithfully chronicle the de-construction of the mural as it came down off its temporary frame and was securely packed and stored in its steel container ( "C-Can" ) where it will hibernate until the spring of 2013.

Dismantling the temporary frame was a fairly tedious undertaking that involved a lot of un-screwing. We planned ahead and used screws throughout in anticipation that it would have to disassembled after the mural's completion.

Shewin and I stacked all of the panels in position in the corner of the rink closest to the exit, in preparation for their winter storage.

I suppose that this picture might seem to be rather anti-climatic...but trust me, it took a LOT of energy to get to this point where all that remains standing is the basic skeleton, ready to drop onto the rink floor for the final dis-assembly. Remember, the frame is a full eighty by sixteen feet, so it represents a bit of work even at this late juncture.

With the help of a couple of very generous volunteers, we were finally able to send the wall back down on its face for the final un-screwing. As you can see, only about three pieces of lumber were shattered in the process. Not bad considering the huge 'boom' that occurred at the moment of impact.
Once all of the panels were removed from the frame and stacked methodically in the corner  of the rink, we recruited several generous volunteers from the community to assist in carrying each panel into the C-Can for winter storage.

All of the fifty panels were stacked with spacers in between and beneath to allow air flow as well as to prevent any shifting over the winter. Great care was taken to ensure that all the panels were not allowed to contact any of their neighboring panels so that scraping or scratching of the precious painted surfaces would be prevented.

A final sweep of the snow, dust and debris was carefully performed by Dennis Sather of the Centennial Committee before the C-Can was sealed for the winter.