Thursday, April 22, 2010

Safdie+KCAIsixteen: a mural for the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts Part 2: when can we start?

Sixteen Kansas City Art Institute students met with their collaborators on-site at the emerging Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. There were two tours this afternoon, on this twenty first day of April, people guided by JD Dunn associates. But for the “KCAIsixteen”, this was not a tour. This was instead a working, thinking, planning visit to inspect the massive bumped plaster walls, the surface for their mural and talk with Moshe Safdie’s colleagues, Isaac and Sarah.

Moshe could not be here. His has a project in Singapore near completion…read about it here, when you have a moment…

So with hardhats, safety glasses, notebooks, cameras and open minds, the team journeyed into the theater, an incredible maze of scaffolding. The room takes shape daily. Students listened while the architects discussed timelines with the project manager engineers. They touched the walls, testing to see how high they could paint before needing a ladder. The plaster “tubes” are almost complete, a few being framed over doorways. There’s 24 panels, big ones.

The studio design work soon transitions to on-site work. But when? When can we start? The big question seemed to fade for a moment as they walked on the outside mezzanine and gazed across the Kansas City skyline. Huge beautiful trusses framed the view whispering that this glorious piece of art has an engineered exquisite skeleton, something built, very real.

The art we view through digital camera lenses and relate upon blogs cannot begin to speak to the utter glory of this structure, or any artifact for that matter. The students know this because they live it. Living it, inside the theater space, made them wide-eyed for a time. On the scaffolding high on the third level, some touched the ceiling, a touch they’ll remember someday when they attend a performance. Then it was out from the site and into a conference room to do some scheming, dreaming, and practical planning…

They shared their latest two, final designs…called by their student visionary’s name…Jacqueline’s design and Blake’s painting…
Decision: Moshe will meet with the 16 on May 5-6 and together they will select the one for painting. In the meantime, the 16 will paint mock-ups and photograph them for Moshe. Knowing the group, they may decide on a blend of both. Stay tuned.

A good discussion about the logistics of painting artwork on the job-site…water for washing brushes, lighting, ladders and stools, safety, which panels first, daily access, security and storage of materials, and more safety. With so many creative people focused upon this project, you know there’s going to be a project plan…

All this as the 16 face those wonderful end-of-year projects and papers, and finals over the coming weeks. No sweat. By the way, they wondered, how hot will it be in there over the summer? They were worried as to how it could affect the paint. They know they’ll get sweaty. Add cold beverages to the project plan…

So when can they start?...May 24…it’s a Monday. Mark it on your calendar. Painting can proceed from then until the third week in August. Isaac jokingly asked…what if you don’t finish it by then? student replied…you can finish it, Isaac! Laughter. Meeting adjourned.

Follow the the student's blog here
If you missed Part 1, read it here

The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

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