***UPDATE*** City Council committee to revisit plan for Warhol art atop Tacoma Dome

A Tacoma City Council committee is expected next week to revisit a plan to cover the Tacoma Dome roof with art designed by iconic pop artist Andy Warhol.

The project dates back to 1982, when the Tacoma Dome was under construction and the City invited artists to submit proposals for a public art installation at the arena, which billed itself as one of the largest wood-domed structures in the world. Warhol submitted a proposal to paint a bright flower over the exterior of the dome’s roof. Although Warhol’s work was not selected, members of Tacoma’s arts community have recently advocated for the project.

In April, City of Tacoma Public Assembly Facilities Director Kim Bedier briefed Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee on the project, which involved digitally printing the Warhol flower onto an adhesive film and testing the adhesive by applying it to a portion of the roof for six months — and under a variety of weather conditions — in order to determine its impact on the roof’s exterior surface, and how well the image holds up under the elements (see “A rooftop test for Tacoma Dome Warhol flower,” Tacoma Daily Index, April 22, 2014; and “Discussion continues on Warhol Tacoma Dome roof plan,” Tacoma Daily Index, April 17, 2014). The cost to design, install, and conduct the test was estimated to cost $900, which would be paid for through the Tacoma Dome’s operations budget.

“Some of the things we don’t know is how the material will react with the roof, what it would look like if we decided to take it off, and how long those bright colors would necessarily stay bright colors,” Bedier told council committee members during the meeting in April. She added that it was worth testing the material on a temporary basis because “it’s worth knowing whether this material is good for our roof or not.

“We’ve got a pretty subtle location that will get a lot of direct sun and lots of weather,” added Bedier.

According to a report prepared City staff, design and installation for Warhol’s flower would cost approximately $2.2 million. The roof would need to be cleaned annually at a cost of $150,000. These expenses would not come from City coffers but, rather, through private fundraising.

“This has been kind of a discussion for quite some time in the arts community and there are a lot of people who are excited,” said Tacoma Arts Commission Chair Traci Kelly during the meeting in April. “Personally, I think this is a really exciting project considering the potential for national acclaim and looking at Tacoma as a city that definitely does have a strong arts component.”

Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee is tentatively scheduled to be updated on the plan during a public meeting on Tues., Dec. 9, at 10 a.m., at the Tacoma Municipal Building, 747 Market St., Room 248, in downtown Tacoma.

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***UPDATE*** Fri., Dec. 5 @ 3:30 p.m. — A staff memo prepared for Tacoma City Council’s Economic Development Committee meeting next week provides information about the results of the test to determine the decal’s impact on the roof’s exterior surface, as well as how the image held up under the elements. The report is available online here and below:

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To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of the proposed Andy Warhol mural atop the Tacoma Dome, click on the following links:

Todd Matthews is editor of the Tacoma Daily Index, an award-winning journalist, and author of A Reporter At Large: A decade of Tacoma interviews, feature articles, and photographs. His journalism is collected online at wahmee.com.