As scheduled, our two days lifting the first six sections into place called for everyone’s best efforts. The Bourlet crew—along with John Jacquier, Kerry Caparulo, and Don Breslauer—installed the first six huge sections, some up as high as 40 feet, with placement accurate to the INCH! There were some epic moments with two lifts and hoists lifting 16-foot panels in the air above us, sometimes moving around and over platforms to get up to designated spots.
I felt a few irregular heartbeats during the most challenging moments of the two days but the bottom line is that there is simply no better crew around. I am so grateful my sister, Judy Griesedieck, was on site with camera and video equipment to record this—another chapter in the story of AMP.
Ellen and her team are busy moving, prepping and cutting out the pieces of the mural that will be installed next. Pretty cool to see them taking shape before going up!
April was a GIANT month, culminating in hosting the Fund For Teachers (FFT) event last Saturday, our first large group using the newly renovated space. On the Monday before the event, Angie, Robert, and Collin from Bourlet Art Logistics moved another large load of panels from my studio to the site. Tuesday through Friday was spent reassembling and lifting the giant sections into spots around the room. Huge thanks to Dave, Tim, Spencer, Joe, John, Michelle, Amy, and Ruthie who were all nabbed to help us get this done.
Photos by Ellen Griesedieck and Shari Marks
As part of their “Senior Day of Service,” five students from Housatonic Valley Regional High School—Charlie Kauffman, Matt Lopes, Holden Marks, Evan Miller, and Mike Pierce—dismantled five major sections of the mural in Ellen’s studio, in preparation for our next moving day. This A-Team of teenagers were an incredible help, and like everyone else who sees the mural, they were blown away by the size of each piece and can’t wait to see it all installed. Thank you, HVRHS Class of 2019!
Photos by Shari Marks
Everyone who has followed and supported AMP is ready to see everything installed. After two decades of painting these panels in my studio and working around the country with kids on collaborative projects, I am more eager than anyone to see this happen.
Following the special day when our first piece went up, the crew from Bourlet Art Logisitics came up from New York to start the first lengthy process: getting all of these giant panels unbolted and into the truck for the trip to Winsted. At the end of February, on one of the iciest days of the month, we were able to dismantle four major sections and transport them over to the mill. We will continue to work through this, panel by panel, until we have all of the honeycomb aluminum sections out of my studio. Then we can think of putting them back together and getting the assembly plates fixed to the backs of each section, hoisted onto the armature plates, and into position-forever.
And my studio. Thinking a few basketball hoops at each end will be its next best use.
Photos by Ellen Griesedieck and Shari Marks
In the last week of January, we asked a group of our long-time volunteers to help us get the first panel up on the steel armature. For the past twelve years, the Marks family has moved giant AMP sections with me all over the country—from Fairfield, Torrington, and Hartford to Indianapolis and Washington, D.C. We could not go ahead with this first assembly piece without them. Holden came over from Housatonic High School and Tim took time off from work to join Shari and the rest of us at the mill. Don Breslauer, car restoration expert and long-time friend, came when we called—as he always does. Dave Hoblin, who has been wearing too many hats working around the property, was there to lend a hand, as well as our son John, who never says "no" when I ask. Our superintendent on the mill restoration, Kerry Caparulo, was there to make sure all went as planned, i.e. we got this thing up. Delia and Mike from Vision Electric were standing by in case we needed advice on the Unistrut needed to connect the panel to the steel. And my husband Sam was not about to miss this first one.
For so long I have promised all of these guys that the next time we moved a big piece it would be into its permanent home. At last, we made it happen. Next step: Thad Meyerriecks, CEO of Bourlet Art Logistics (experts in art transportation and installation), came up for the second Saturday in a row to discuss the massive job of moving twenty years of work over to Winsted from my studio. Thad is a dear friend who has put up with me on this project for two decades. With Don and John Jacquier, these three spent several hours going over the plans for assembling the entire mural. I stood back and listened as they discussed U bolts and shear, aluminum versus steel panels, rigging and lifts.
This is a VERY special moment in the history of this project. Without any one of these people I have mentioned, we would not be where we are celebrating this milestone moment together. AMP collaboration in the best sense.
Photos by Lazlo Gyorsok and Shari Marks