Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moving the Meter

In another life, when I was president of the Greater East End Management District, my program director would review each day's efforts and ask if we'd 'moved the meter.' I began to pick up on that theme and now the phrase is part of my vocabulary, part of my way of evaluating the day or a job. Did we move the meter?
Well, today, we moved the meter on several different fronts. Charles Masterson is hard at work fabricating the panels for Dick Wray's tower and they should be complete early next week and delivered to the site for installation. It should be amazing to watch Dick Wray's four story design take shape. If one were to film the process and rerun at high speed, the process might almost be like one of those picture flip books. Behold, the tower rises!
We did postpone two installations until next week. May seem like a step backward, but not really. Simply made sense as there is still a lot of work going on in the lobby.
We postponed Kaneem Smith's installation until next Wednesday. With the new date, I also know that all her paint and fire retardant application will be totally dry, bells will be affixed and wire strung. We'll be able to complete her installation all in one day and I'm thinking that surely the dust in the lobby may have settled by next Wednesday. That will be a real plus. The dust is pretty intense this week. There's a lot of 'finishing' going on.
We also postponed my two A & E wallpaper installations and a good thing we did. The cashier's area was carpeted today, wall paint was touched up and the door to the space was being installed when I left late this afternoon. There was no way we could have hung wallpaper there today.
Good news. Jesse Sifuentes and his helper Juan Jimenez got that second enormous canvas mural up this afternoon on the first try. All the hardware worked and the piece is level in its inset. It's still under wraps - because of the dust and activity in the area. But there it hangs, right next to what will be a coffee shop for employees and the public.
Jesse and Juan were jubilant. Manhattan's Charlie Genella stopped by on his rounds and there was lots of hand shaking and smiles.
Tomorrow, I'll pick up more Studio Red hard hats for Serena Lin Bush and her crew. They will arrive at 9:00 to install her monitors in the stairwell pit and hook them up to cameras on the roof. I can hardly wait to see her artwork in action.
While Serena is at work in the stairwell, another crew will be arriving at 10:00 to install three plexi sign language text walls on levels 2 and 3.
At the very end of tomorrow, I meet with Robynn Sanders and we will walk the upper floors and spot specific locations for her painted text interventions. She return next week to paint those small interventions. We hope they make folks smile. A chuckle or two might be nice.
Am I tired? Most certainly. And I look it too. Am I pleased with the installations, thus far?Absolutely.
The meter moved today. And I suspect it will move tomorrow too. Thanks to all who are making all the pieces of this project happen.

East End Magnolias

Jesse's first mural is up and looks terrific in the level 4 reception area, a space that has two big windows, one facing north and the second overlooking downtown Houston. The north light is great for the painting and highlights the portion of his mural where he's painted in a couple of Houston icons - Minute Maid Park's train and Pennzoil Place.
We are delaying the installation of two of my text walls from this morning until next Monday. One was to have been wallpapered in the cashier's area on the main level, but the carpeting is going in this morning and the space is still filled with workers and dust.
The second text wall we're delaying is on level 3 and comprises dozens of the phrases and words I heard as I listened to plan reviewers and inspectors earlier this year. I spent hours at a time sitting in on their conversations with contractors, engineers, architects and covered a stack of yellow legal pads with transcriptions. Then I weeded through all the words and found key phrases that were used over and over. Put them all together like a monologue. Ran it by key folks like Earl Greer, Sheila Blake, Mark McAvoy and Susan McMillian. Made several revisions based on their comments. Also heard several chuckles as they read it, so I know we have it right.
S.O. Creatives designed both of these text walls. Both walls are real collaborations. A & E Graphics is producing and installing the wallpapers. Hope the dust has settled by next Monday when they install. Here's an image of the sample produced for the level 3 reception area. It's actually going to be about 14 feet long and 9 feet tall. Those colored conversation clouds are plexi and will be bolted on over the words.
Time to shower and get on with the day. That means get to the site. Jesse is installing his second mural in the lobby this morning.