How do you pass along the collective memories of a half a century in such a way as to be able to be enjoyed by whomever wants to see it?
The residents of the Horizon House, the first high-rise building on Clearwater Beach, in Island Estates, decided to create a permanent display combining family photos, postcards and other historical images from a time gone by. The memories displayed would be of local interest to be enjoyed by the residents, their families and guests in the form of a “Memory Wall.”
The Horizon House team joined up with Clearwater art studio, Canvas Zoo, explained their vision and asked for help with the creative process and the implementation. The artists listened, researched and came back with this terrific plan.
The Memory Wall spans 40" high and 80" wide in a common area just outside the reception space at the Horizon House. The installation is made up of 46 individual images including everything from circa 1940's photographs and postcards to newspaper articles announcing the approval of the building permit ($1.5 mil - the most expensive to date - Feb. 1961), and a Miami Herald ad of 1962 promoting "Your modern apartment is complete with an all-electric kitchen!" Even a few more current images are included, such as photos taken from the filming of Dolphin Tale - as the Clearwater Marina is a view enjoyed outside the windows of many of the residents.
The artists at Canvas Zoo were most helpful in the selection of the contributed images found from local sources. Time had taken it's wear - including rips, water stains, and fading. The artists went to work clearing up a majority of the old images that were in need of restoration. And of course, it all needed to be done very quickly - a matter of weeks - to meet the agreed upon deadline. That was no problem since this is in line with the type of work done daily at Canvas Zoo. The final layout was presented as a 1/3rd size of the final piece - large enough to tape to the wall and “live with for a few days” as a way to proof and make any last minute adjustments.
Once the final layout had been approved by the Chair Person of the Horizon House committee and the artists -- printing began as follows. Canvas Zoo printed the images on acid free paper using archival inks. Each image was then individually laminated onto its own wood backing so that it could stand the test of time and be enjoyed by generations of residents and visitors. The artwork was then mounted at three different staggered heights and depths. Each picture was attached to a wood support board that had been painted the color of the wall where it would be installed.
Once complete, the board with the mounted artwork was transported to the Horizon House for final installation. Here are images of Scott Menaul mounting artwork on to the board, transporting it in their trailer and then with Mary Gilkey of Horizons Photography once the art had been finally installed.
"Jerri and Kate and Scott at Canvas Zoo made this huge project seem extremely effortless," commented Mary Gilkey of Horizons Photography - who had contributed some of the images within the collage. "It was a huge undertaking for us, but they listened to us, understood our goals, and kept this project organized, on track and on budget which was key for our Horizon House building committee. They had a way of knowing what we wanted even before we did - and their ideas contributed value to our concept. I'm so pleased that our residents and their family and guests will be able to enjoy this for years to come. The people at Canvas Zoo have been creative and passionate about this project. They addressed even the smallest details to make sure everything was perfect.
This History Wall is a showpiece in our lobby, a piece of art to be enjoyed by generations to come.”
"This project has been very satisfying for us all," remarked Jerri Menaul of Canvas Zoo. “Our purpose is to help people surround themselves with art that makes their heart happy. We were thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Horizons Photography -- taking their vision and making it a reality.”