Guest Blogger: Ilenia Pezzaniti
Throughout August 6-7, avoiding the rain and despite the humidity, ArtsNow Artist-In-Residence Lizzi Aronhalt, Assistant Artists Alex Couch and Shanise Tabler, and Mural Arts Philadelphia Staff Muralist Felix St. Fort installed the 11’ x 64’ mural on the Park East tennis court wall in Akron.
The mural, designed by Aronhalt with the help of community members who live near Park East, has been an ongoing process since February 2019.
To properly and efficiently install the mural, the mural was painted on parachute cloth, then cut into 5’ x 5’ squares. At the mural install, though jobs were eventually rotated, while Aronhalt and Tabler finished up the previous section, St. Fort rolled the gel adhesive onto the back of the cloth squares using a paint roller, and with the help of an assistant, generally Couch, folded the squares, which would then be placed on the scaffold. St. Fort and Couch then rolled Aronhalt and Tabler to their next section, handed them the readied square, and from there Aronhalt and Tabler would match the square to the previous one and begin the process of adhering the piece to the wall. Using a squeegee, the artists smoothed each section, pushing out excess adhesive, with St. Fort paying special attention to and pointing out any air bubbles. By the 7th square, everyone was able to easily identify where the air bubbles were. “This canvas is like a Sprite can full of bubbles,” Aronhalt laughed.
A few people stopped by to see how the install was going. A woman, jogging, looked back at the mural and artists and hollered, “Looks great!” After proper thank you’s and warmhearted giggles, the artists and assistants returned to work.