Friday, September 18, 2009

Today was the big day!!Yep...the unveiling of Phase one! EXCITING!!
Needless to say we were a bit uptight to start the day. Normally we have a ton of work to do on the last day before the unveiling but we were strangely efficient this trip and had everything set to go. It was kind of unnerving.
Luckily we found other things to worry about...other murals...other ideas for projects to plan we still managed to create ulcers for ourselves and all felt just right. Not to mention the thought that we would have to make speeches to a packed house in the evening who were all out to celebrate constitution day. Yipes.....
So to take the edge off we thought we would go visit the copper mines. AMAZING!!!! This is the biggest copper mine in the world and they aren't kidding. You can see it from space it is so huge. It looks like a mountain chopped in half and turned into a giant outdoor theatre where only Giants could sit on the seats. To describe the size of the mine is impossible. You gotta see it. So here is some pics. The trucks you see in the distance- their tires are probably 20 feet high. They are literally like moving three story houses with wheels.

I wanted to get a better look so i grabbed the pay per view binocular machine. AWESOME!! ONLY 25 cents!! I think they were 25 cents when I was a kid. Now however I can actually afford to use them so it was sweet!!
HOWEVER...a near tragedy...while I was looking through the of the trucks came over the barricade and I was pinned by one of the giant tires. TERRIFYING!!

Hard to believe that i could survive such a tragedy!! Luckily I was able to just yell to the girl in front of the truck for help while her boyfriend was taking her picture and she was able to reassure me that i would be ok. Thank goodness...wouldn;t want to miss the unveiling.

Even after the trauma of the tire incident I was ready to head off to the unveiling. But first i went and bought a new suit jacket. TRUE STORY...I bought a $200 suit jacket at JC PENNY for $10. The jacket was on sale for $20 but there was a loose button on it so i complained and said I would buy it if the button weren't he said "How does $10 sound??" I said "SOLD!!" I think he felt bad that I had been run over by the tire at the mines.

I love looking at my receipt....regular price $200 on sale for $10 hahahahaha.....nice.
So we went back got dressed and were set for the unveiling. I was totally nervous for this one. Lewis managed to catch me warming up with my speech. Can you see the stressLewis made me even more uncomfortable as he was as nervous as me and I had written a speech. He had not. He practised in the truck on the way there...was not too reassuring...

So the moment was about to arrive. One of our team of 250 artists showed up early. Little Johnny!! He was awesome and so proud.He came early because he wanted to save a front row seat for his entire family. Lewis made him feel like a star! Which of course he was for the night!

Then the moment arrived. We went on stage and made the speeches. It was a pretty touching night. Before we went up- the night was full of emotion as veterans from as far back as WW II and the battle of IWO JIMA were paraded on stage right up to modern day vets. There was even a tribute to a young man who had lost his life recently in IRAQ. It was hard not to feel the families pain. But the room was full of unbelieveable pride. We definitely were caught in the moment.

After a wonderful introduction we made our way up to the stage and said our speeches. I went first and things went well...except for the fact they started the video that lewis had created especially for the unveiling in the middle of my speech so it lost some if its zip... HERE IT IS..

So we finshed our speeches and the curtain came down. There were gasps and the energy of the room swelled. You could feel the pride of the students and even more so of the parents. It was electric!!
Even some special guests showed up to read the constitution in front of the mural....Then God bless America was sung by the choir and the mural was officially baptised into the community. The Students had created a masterpiece!! SOUTH JORDAN CITY SHOULD BE PROUD!!
Then the evening ended and the paparazzi took over. PHOTOS PHOTOS AND PHOTOS!! All the students lined up and each one that was there had their picture taken with us and the mural. WHAT A NIGHT!!! The kids were all so impressed with how they created such an amazing mural together without ever giving up their freedom of creativity. AWESOME!!

So the night ended and we announced the beginning of the mural to unite all the UNITED STATES. In one year we will be back again with a mural full of amazing artwork telling the story of the history of the United States through the eyes of some of the finest artists in the US. EVERY STATE WILL BE REPRESENTED!

Our team mate back home , who is keeping things moving while we are away and holding down the fort- Paul Lavoie- is busy working on our west coast mural leading into the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.I am sure he is looking forward to our return.

Its late and I must get some sleep. My computer keeps crashing and I have to catch a plane home tomorrow to be back around my loved ones. New friends have been made and the mural has a good home. We'll be back to visit our lovely, friendly US neighbors very soon. With an even bigger message of UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY through art. See more at our website...upward and

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The morning started off with the goal of getting the glued down mural cut so we could put the wall together properly for the unveiling. We began by heading off to Home Depot. We hoped that with some luck they would use their panel saw and help us trim up the mural. We met an incedibly helpful and friendly gentleman by the name of Jesse. He was not only helpful he was very impressed with what we were doing. So without any hesitation he helped us out by trimming the mural. HOME DEPOT should be proud of this guy. Truly showed the true meaning of customer service.
So from here we moved the mural to the big auditorium today and began putting it together for the final display. It is truly a wonderful piece. Hard to believe that such a wonderful mural could be created with students as young as kindergarten. What a great way to launch the big mural.
We spent the morning screwing together the panels and making the mural secure so that it would be safe and impressive. Its much bigger then we imagined. Looks great!! I’ll save the full image for tomorrow after the unveiling.
Then after the set up we were invited to dinner at the home of Lori Edmunds (events director of South Jordan City) and her husband Dean. What a lovely evening and great hospitality. While we waited for dinner the neighbors invited Lewis and I to relax with a little B-Ball. I am proud to say...I successfully defeated Lewis 21-0 in a game of 21. But he had way more style then me as is evident in the photos. I should have told him I practiced shooting hoops with a 10 year old daily in Perth Ontario for three years before we started playing. Oh well...
Tomorrow is the big day!!! Stay tuned!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Today we began our first day in South Jordan City assembling phase one of the Freedom mural for the United States. Its been months of preparations and we are finally putting forth the mural created by the students of South Jordan City- an invitation to the nation- whis is leading to the creation of the much bigger mural that will unite all the states into one amazing collaborative.
It has been such a positive experience here in South Jordan City. Today started off bright and early as Lewis and I left the hotel room and the first thing we see is this giant truck which i just happened to catch Lewis running by on the way to the van. Really...we didn;t stage the shot at all- really ...REALLY!!! Pretty prophetic and really was an indication of our mission for the day with the mural.
We reached the building where we were to begin assembling the mural and there awaited the lovely Melva. What a sweetheart Melva was. Although hard of hearing Melva was great to chat with. I felt my questions were much better the second time when I yelled them. She gets up early every morning to cook breakfast for all the seniors in the community. Lucky for me I turned 41 this year so as some people have mentioned- I am now in that senior category and because of that Melva made us the loveliest waffles and eggs to start our day. I had to get a shot of Lewis with Melva. Mmm...I am dreaming of tomorrow’s breakfast with Melva. Did you know waffles are like Mural Mosaic’s ? You can make one square a syrup square, put a butter chuink in another...maybe some jam in another square...yum...
So before we started Lewis needed to burn off some morning energy after breakfast . Melva makes some wicked needless to say- Lewis (all wound up with playful exuberance) found a local family and played tag with their kids while their parents watched oncarefully although they seemed a little stiff and unreceptive to his behavior.
So off we went to build the mural. Panel after panel we slowly glued the mural together. It was exciting as it started to take shape. Lori our host and the community events co-ordinator made a point of stopping by and making sure all was going well. Which it certainly was. Better then we could have expected.
We didn;t finish today but we did get close. At 6 p.m. we were whisked off to a dress rehearsal for the unveiling. YIKES!! This is going to be big!! A large theater, an incredible tribute to the war veterans, constitution day and the eyes of the community upon us. WHOA!!! Did not epxect this. And we also have to make a speech. So...needless to say...we are now trying to figure out just what to say Thursday. So...tomorrow is another early day so we have to turn in early. But in the mean time we will plan what to say for our speech in our dreams and plot what we can make for our net mural mosaic with Melva by maybe combining our waffles together tomorrow!! I hope she doesn’t switch things up and make pancakes....
So- nothing to do with the murals but a great way to end the day- a video song from my niece that helps keeps my sanity...