Mural set for Center for Creative Learning

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Volunteers to help recreate mural artist’s design

Staff report

LaGRANGE — With a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, LaGrange Art Museum is undergoing on a “gateway-enhancing” mural project.

A wall mural is underway on the north and northwest facades of the museum’s Center for Creative Learning at Morgan Street and Lafayette Parkway. The work began Oct. 28 and is set to finish Nov. 9. The center serves as a communal, multidisciplinary arts education venue for a broad cross section of the community’s residents as well as local arts organizations.

In early 2015, the museum published an online request for proposal that solicited submissions from experienced mural artists across the southeast. Out-of-the-box thinking was encouraged as well as an abstract, rather than an illustrative approach, said Karen Anne Briggs, LaGrange Art Museum executive director.

Almost 50 artists from across the country responded to the request.

In July, members of the community met to serve as adjudicators. Representatives included Briggs; Bobby Cammon, art museum board president; artist Steve Close; Jake Jones, manager at CB&T; Destin Knowles Lemmo of Interface; architect Ashley Smith; Andy Porter of Interface; Barbie Watts, director of marketing and promotions for the Downtown LaGrange Development Authority; and Sallie Keith, museum education director.

Over the course of two weeks the list was narrowed down to four finalists.

Atlanta-based artist Deanna Sirlin was offered the commission. The work selected was “Honeycomb,” a 2015 work of mixed media on paper. “Honeycomb” was recently shown in her solo exhibition at NWWK Neuer Worpsweder Kunstverein in Worpswede, Germany.

Sirlin was born in Brooklyn, New York, and spent her formative years studying art in the Metropolitan Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Brooklyn Museum. She studied painting in New York and received a master of fine arts degree from Queens College of the City University of New York.

Major installations of her art have covered the sides of buildings, including the High Museum of Art, the Georgia Museum, and the New Orleans Museum of Art. She has permanent work in Venice, Italy, at Ca’ Foscari and in many buildings and collections in Atlanta. Most recently, she joined with Pawel Althamer at the New Museum in NYC for his Draftsman’s Congress. Sirlin lives and works outside of Atlanta.

“As an artist who has lived in the South for more than 30 years, I understand the light and beauty of the region,” Sirlin said about her work. “When creating a work, I think about the site — its location, who uses it and how it is used. I consider how people inhabit the space, move through it and spend time there.

“I want to give LaGrange something that will become a significant part of the town. I want the LaGrange community to have a work that is meaningful to them with a direct relationship to the site and its context.”

Work on the project began behind the scenes in October as volunteers from Interface began the exacting process of taking the original artwork and scaling it to size for the large, outdoor brick surface. Ultimately, the original 20-inch by 17-inch work of art was converted to more than 216 3-foot by 3-foot squares, each marked and identified by a coded color system corresponding to a pallet of 30 different colors.

The second step, applying the grid and the paint-by-number color code system, is being done by Interface volunteers as well. More than 27 Interface volunteers are expected to work on the project.

Painting of the mural will be completed by almost 100 volunteers from across the community over a two- to three-week period. College art students, local public and private art education instructors, local artists and children from the Boys and Girls Club will be some of the many participants.

Time, labor and scaffolding have been contributed by Gene Acree, owner of Professional Painting Services, and more than 40 gallons of paint have been donated to the project by local 3 Points Benjamin Moore store owner, Terry Oliver.

A press release from LaGrange Art Museum contributed to this report.

Reach the LaGrange Daily News at 706-884-7311.