Andy Warhol Flower or Corporate Sponsorship for Tacoma Dome?

The discussion of decorating the Tacoma Dome with Andy Warhol's "Flowers for Tacoma" is back.

Once upon a time Andy Warhol submitted a design proposal to decorate the Tacoma Dome with a giant flower. Tacoma turned him down, and went with the neon you see now on the inside of the Dome. The idea of putting the Warhol flower on the Dome still appeals to quite a few Tacomans, particularly the arts community. Now the Warhol flower is going head-to-head with plans to maximize the revenue generated by the Dome.

A staff memo gives an overview of the conversation ahead of an informal briefing on the Tacoma Dome planned for next Tuesday's Economic Development Committee meeting.

The memo describes a "desire in the community" to see the Warhol plan happen. Apparently the arts community has expressed interest in fundraising to put the flower on the Dome, and the Tacoma Arts Commission has requested formal support from the City for the project.

Tacoma's Public Assemblies Facilities Department, on the other hand, has been tasked with lining up corporate sponsorship and/or naming rights to generate revenue for the City.

The two, apparently, are in conflict.

A study earlier this year looked at what the City might charge for naming rights to the Dome, and came up with a range of $450,000 to $670,000. The study also advised against the installation of roof art to preserve the "blank canvas" of the Dome while the City searches for a sponsor.

Aside from the potential conflict with a corporate sponsor, the project of getting the Warhol flower on the Dome faces a number of other obstacles. The City would need permission from the Warhol Foundation to use the image. Then there's the question of covering the cost of installation (estimated at $2.16 to $2.19 million) and maintenance ($150,000 a year for cleaning, plus other ongoing maintenance). And there's the issue of the technical details. To put the Warhol image on the Dome, it would be printed on an "adhesive film" and applied to the structure. What isn't known is what effect the adhesive would have on the structure, or how it would do in all seasons. 

A kind of compromise is being proposed, in which both paths - the Warhol flower and the search for a corporate sponsor - would go ahead. A small test section of the materials would be applied to the Dome for a minimum of two seasons to see how it does in various weather conditions. That would cost $900, which could be covered out of Dome operating funds. Meanwhile, efforts to secure a corporate sponsor for the would also move forward. Once the test period is complete and staff has had the chance to determine corporate interest in sponsorship, the Council could revisit the idea.

Spotted at the Tacoma Daily Index. Previously from Exit133: New Hope Blooming for the Tacoma Dome?

We've also heard the idea floated of painting the Dome like a giant golf ball in honor of the US Open... What do you think? Flower? Golf ball? ... or [un-named corporate sponsor] logo?

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Warhol flower, for good.

April 18, 2014 at 11:58 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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Wouldn’t the flower draw attention to the dome?  Isn’t that good for the corporate sponsor - unless the sponsor wants to make the roof a giant ad for their company… Please tell me this isn’t the case.

April 18, 2014 at 12:49 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Notice how the photograph used is of the Dome prior to the parking lot being given away?  That wasn’t an oversight.  And, before anyone comes back and says that the photograph they had available was pre- and bla, bla, bla.  Better check Google Earth before typing.

April 18, 2014 at 2:43 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Erik BRegistered

Come on Tacoma, you can do it! Think big!

Also see:

Citizens to Install Andy Warhol’s Flower on Tacoma Dome

April 18, 2014 at 11:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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If there is a fund raising campaign to install the flower, I’d like the campaign to buy the naming rights at the same time.  This structure was originally financed by the citizens of Tacoma.  In honor of the citizens, it should bear the name of our community in perpetuity.  That would make it unique among public arenas, but it is, and should remain, uniquely Tacoman.  Didn’t the Cheney family do the same thing (buy up name rights) when Cheney Stadium was renovated?  The flower will most likely cost in the millions.  Might as well go for and extra $500,000 while we’re at it.

April 19, 2014 at 11:48 am / Reply / Quote and reply

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One could make the claim, “Art is Timeless,” and therefore Warhol’s 1982 flower art is as relevant now as ever. But I’d like to put forth that the tools and materials used to produce art do change with time.

Closer to the point, we could never reproduce Warhol’s flower on the Tacoma Dome because in 1982 no final plans were developed for production technique according to Warhol’s studio direction. We have no authoritative reference guide.

We could reproduce Warhol’s 1982 flower art on the Tacoma Dome as a simulation. The method of production that comes to my mind involves contemporary tools and materials. There are now companies with the capability to reproduce large format graphics, to shrink fit on cars or cover the face of a 10-story building, and which last and resist fading for 5-7 years. I’m not claiming that this medium would work on a roof, but if it did then such a reproduction of Warhol’s flower art might offer an interesting modern interpretation.

Excerpt dated 10/24/2011 @ 9:27pm—Mofo from the Hood’s Blog, “QUANTUM FOAM: Start Now”

April 22, 2014 at 11:02 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Gerry Sperry

As the original and oldest advocate for placing or projecting the always timeless and relevant image of earth on the dome, (a concept entitled eARTh: The Tacoma Home Dome, 1982), I’m well aware of improvements in materials and optical technology that makes imaging the dome more practical. I believe Tacoma’s commitment to art and the environment is more comprehensive with an image of our imperiled planet. Warhol’s ‘Daisy Dome’, an abstract flower that belies both the form and function of the domes semi-spherical design, is predicated and advocated mostly on the “name” of the artist. A living image of the planet on the dome would draw a greater cross-section of people from all over the world and would be an outstanding and original promotion for Tacoma and it’s values. In any event, allow the merits of my alternative to Warhol be debated and considered in an open discussion rather than through the willful ignorance suppression of ideas that is a hallmark of the present arts administration with respect to this matter. In short, Please don’t censor my idea any more.

April 23, 2014 at 4:27 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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Laura Marlow

For over 30 years there’s been a wonderful idea for the top of the Tacoma Dome, designed by a local artist, Gerry Sperry, born and raised in Tacoma. It is nothing less than the image of the whole Earth and I think this is an extraordinary proposal, timely in every way. I believe it has far more potential for Tacoma than the tired old Warhol flower. To focus on Earth Day events where exhibits and people from all over the world can come together exploring ways to save our endangered planet with the latest ideas and technology would be just the beginning. The possibilities are endless. We are now at a critical junction on our good Earth, as we endeavor to reclaim, restore, and enhance the natural environment, and this will provide a center for all creative people to come together to find ways to solve our world’s most pressing problems.

Cheryl Laura Marlow

April 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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James Leo

Funnily enough, I think Warhol would’ve quite enjoyed whatever corporate art would be plastered on the dome

May 16, 2014 at 11:29 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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M. Kent

Anything but the advertising banner dangling haphazardly on the freeway side of the dome!

May 19, 2014 at 12:32 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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June 7, 2018 at 4:18 pm / Reply / Quote and reply

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