Exit133 is about Tacoma
Warhol Flower for the Tacoma Dome Update
On Tuesday the Economic Development Committee of the Tacoma City Council voted unanimously to move forward a proposal that would give City Council support to a plan to put an enormous flower designed by Andy Warhol on the outside of the Tacoma Dome.
The idea of covering the Tacoma Dome with a giant Andy Warhol-designed flower has been kicking around for decades now - since the original proposal from Warhol himself back in the early 80s when the Dome was brand new. Obviously the flower design wasn't chosen, but more than 30 years on we're seeing a swell of support for the Warhol flower installation.
Last spring the idea took a significant step forward when the City agreed to place a patch of 3M adhesive film on the roof to test the material proposed for the possible installation. They were looking at the material's ability to hold up to the elements, and at its impact on the roof of the Dome.
The test patch of adhesive materials stayed on the Dome for five months, exposed to sun, rain, wind, and other Northwest summer and fall weather. At this week's meeting of the City Council Economic Development Committee, staff reported on what they found.
Upon inspection last month, staff found the material of the decal to be in good shape with no rips, peeling, or delaminating of the material. Seams in the adhesive were still in place, and had not let in water. The colors of the TV test pattern faired less well, with darker colors showing dirt and noticeable fading. Lighter colors hid dirt better, but were also faded, and seams were found to be "very dirty."
Removal of a portion of the test patch showed that the decal came off easily, but also ripped easily, suggesting that removal of the full roof could be quite labor intensive. Removal didn't damage the existing Dome roof, but did leave behind a lightly sticky residue, suggesting that extensive cleaning would likely be necessary for removal of any full-size design. Unknown at this point is how the material would respond to repeated cleanings.
Based on the test patch, staff made a few recommendations. First, that any plan to install the material come with cleanings at regular intervals - probably every six months. Second, staff recommended that removal costs be locked in to any project total as a project cost, rather than a per-hour cost.
Staff also commented on the quality of the existing rubber membrane-clad roof. Although it is past its warantee, it is holding up well. A new roof will likely be requested somewhere between 2022 and 2024. Given that the flower installation would not last indefinitely, and likely won't happen for a few years yet, the replacement of the roof could make for an interesting timeline for installation, and removal.
With approval from the Economic Development Committee, the next step is for the project to gain support from the full Council in the form of a resolution. Supporters of the Warhol flower design will need full support from the City to move forward. Once they have that support, they can approach the Warhol Foundation to request permission to use the Warhol flower image, hopefully without a licensing fee.
If they get support from the City and permission from the foundation, the next step would be to fundraise somewhere in the neighborhood of $3 million for the art installation.
The City has made it pretty clear that they won't be paying the estimated $2.2 million installation cost, the $150,000 per cleaning cost, or the cost of removal. That leaves paying for the project up to community supporters. The Greater Tacoma Community Foundation has agreed to step in as the tax-deductible donation receiving entity for the project. With unknowns around the project no significant outreach has been made to major donors yet, and the timeline for fundraising could put funding a couple years out, but supporters seem undaunted by the $3 million ask.
In response to questions about raising that amount for a project that would go away after a few years, Tacoma Arts Administrator Amy McBride described the hype and buzz that would come with the installation of the largest Warhol design, even if only for a limited time.
"It's about spectacle; it's about taking that risk; it's about branding our community as a cultural community."
So, are you ready to be branded? Are you ready for the spectacle?
Do you want to help the folks at Exit133 pay our bills and keep up with of all things Tacoma? Do you want to see even more coverage? Exit133 has always been free to read and comment, and it will stay that way. However, over the years, readers have contributed to the bank account to help us keep up our coverage of goings-on around town. Contribute and this message disappears!Support Exit133