Butler University was founded in 1855 by attorney and abolitionist Ovid Butler on a sprawling 290 acre plot in Indianapolis’ Butler-Tarkington neighborhood. As Butler states on their website, “the University emphasizes a liberal arts-based education with the goal of teaching clear and effective communication, appreciation of beauty, and a commitment to lifelong learning, community service and global awareness”. With that in mind, it becomes clear what their priorities are when planning a major renovation of one of their campus’ showcase meeting rooms and easy to understand why they chose Blice Edwards, Inc.
Butler representatives began the search for a muralist to complete a huge mural depicting seven of the significant buildings on campus. Blice Edwards, Inc. was encouraged to submit a bid after representatives saw their work done for Meridian Hills Country Club. The Butler “paint only” mural is to adorn the walls of the Johnson Board Room, which is undergoing a major renovation. Craig Hardee, the Senior Project Manager stated, “the Johnson Board Room will be a showcase space on the Butler campus. It is the formal facility on campus which was very tired and in need of TLC. It was last renovated in 1990. This room will be our Board of Trustees’ meeting room and a showcase room for campus and all of its constituents. It was a very traditional room that is being converted into a transitional style and décor, showcasing the Blice Edwards mural of campus buildings. Blice Edwards, Inc. has worked tirelessly and with great emotion on this project states “we are all very excited to see the completed product!”
Renovation design began July 2011, construction started in August 2011 with a scheduled completion date of October 2011. There will be significant changes to the room, which include building angled walls, adding an architectural entablature over the main entry, acoustical ceilings and other general updates to the carpet, walls, lighting and shades. Blice Edwards, Inc. created the mural trying to harmonize the design elements of the room, while paying special attention to the buildings depicted in the mural.
When asked about the overall mural design and process, Jon Edwards, a founding member of Blice Edwards said, “The photographs were transposed into line drawings that are projected onto the wall. The mural’s scale is so large that drawing them freehand would be nearly impossible. Therefore, when you are close to the wall it is difficult to see the entire image, thus we used a forced perspective. This accentuates the immense size of each building and each mural. It is essentially seven murals in one room.”
When asked if there were any other additional design elements that were considered, Chris Blice, the other founding member of Blice Edwards added, “they wanted a soft palette of fairly neutral, analogous colors to fit in a transitional styled room that will allow emphasis on the material (either projected or voice) to be presented in the room” and interestingly enough, one of the buildings depicted in the mural has not even been built, we painted it from a conceptual photograph”.
Blice Edwards, Inc.’s projects often require a great deal of collaboration and tying key aspects of the mural to either historical references of the subject, designing to a specific vision and often both. The ability for collaboration was even greater in this project due to the varied activities supporting the overall renovation; our success has been undeniably because of this team and their vision. The Butler team consisted of Craig Hardee, Senior Project Manager; Ellen Clark, Butler Presidents Administrative Assistant; Beth Alexander the Director of Conferences and Special Events; and Joe Ader the Director of Information Technology. We all worked in coordination with the designer / construction Rowland Designs VP of Construction, Sarah Schwartzkopf; Barth Electric, for the lighting and electrical; Sensory Technology for the projection technology; Carpet Decorators who is doing the carpet; Solar Concepts for the window films; and SPD for the drapes.Share post