Yesterday we installed my two new 4x8 foot custom photo-mosaics in Loveland, Colorado’s Chilson Rec Center where they will live on permanent display in the main entrance hallway between the lobby and the gyms/pool/workout areas.
Master carpenter David Renwick fitted them securely to the walls using thick metal Z-bar along the top of the frames (each framed piece weighs 75 pounds) and locking security hardware along the bottom corners. Suzanne and Marty Janssen helped us get them in place and capture the process.
Commissioned by the City of Loveland, the install capped a 7-month process from being awarded the public art project back in November, to traveling back out in late January to take 5,000 photographs of residents at play in the rec center.
It included months of composing the pieces by hand in my studio before mailing them out for mounting, framing and final placement. Here’s a video showing my entire creative process assembling the 2nd piece from beginning to end over the course of 30 days.
After a few dozen phone calls with a half dozen framers in three different states plus the indispensable advice of Anna Hamel, Asst Preparator at the Smith College Museum of Art, I picked Melissa from Colorado Fine Art Supply in Loveland, who did a wonderful job mounting and framing the pieces according to strict archival standards.
The two mosaics were carefully laid on top of each other and rolled, bagged, and encircled in bubble wrap for safe mailing from my studio in Massachusetts to Melissa’s frame shop in Colorado.
From there Melissa began the process of mounting each photomosaic to a 4x8 foot piece of 100% cotton mat board using a PVA adhesive. For stability, the mat board was then adhered to a piece of coroplast, adding an extra layer of rigidity and another barrier between the artworks and the backing.
Next the outer 2x1-inch solid wood black frames were assembled with metal hinges at each corner for additional strength. Then the 4x8-foot pieces of acrylic plexiglass were inserted.
Melissa cut 5/8” slats of mat board, glued them together, painted them black and glued them into place along the edges of the frame to give breathing space between the plexiglass and the mosaics.
After inserting the artworks, now adhered to mat board and coroplast, Melissa then built a solid wood backing to fit snugly inside the contours of the frame and screwed it into place.
Necessary to assist in load bearing for such a wide, heavy frame, the wood strainer support system also provides a sturdy skeleton from which to hang the finished pieces, using interlocking metal z-bars.
Lastly, an acid free, gray backing paper was added to seal the artworks from dust and dirt.
It was a great thrill for me to walk down the hallway at Chilson and see the pieces on display. People were stopping to look, and take in the new art.
Special thanks to the Visual Arts Commission for this wonderful opportunity, to Suzanne Janssen for joyfully guiding me through the process, to Melissa for doing such a careful and masterful job framing, to David Resnick for hanging them to perfection, to Anna Hamel for your expert advice, to everyone else who helped me on this project, and to all the people of Loveland for welcoming me and my art into your community.
This was my first public art commission. I learned a tremendous amount and am very happy with how the project turned out. I look forward to many more.
I am very encouraged to witness a city in the U.S. such as Loveland that invests so heavily in public art, giving so many artists the financial support and public platform to express ourselves while beautifying, inspiring and invigorating the entire community with meaningful and lasting works of art. Bravo!