Meeting with MEChA & Mural Update

April 6, 2011 a meeting was held at the ECC now in Condon Hall for MECHA student organization by OMA&D and Capital Projects to explain new updates on the ECC construction project and specifically the preservation of the murals.

AIA of BOLA Architecture and Planning, Susan Boyle explained the history of the 24 fully-documented murals and took an eager personal interest in her research and discovery of who created them and the stories behind them. Boyle mentioned during the two hour presentation that she couldn’t stop herself from learning more about the imagery and meaning behind the poems and words and Chicano history in addition to each of the other murals that color the ECC walls.

Ultimately, Boyle and the BOLA Architects concluded their work on the murals.

  • All the murals have been catalogued
  • The four main artists have been interviewed
  • Representatives from the state department of archaeology and historic preservation DAHP and the Washington trust for historic preservation have visited the site
  • Several methods of removal have been tested in further detail

Many of the mural artists went on to do great things in the United States and elsewhere. Artist Beasley, who did the Native American mural and now lives in Alaska, was quoted by Boyle saying that he was glad to hear that the mural still existed. However, he thought the mural had a long life and thought it was time for it to be let go.

Boyle then went on to describe the work of her colleague Peter Molarki, a professional art preservationist who is directing the preservation of the murals. Molarki came up with two possible methods to preserve the murals because of the danger of asbestos as well as the danger of easily damaging the murals. The first method was to preserve the murals by a peeling method which strips the paint and a few layers beyond it off the wall and onto a industrial tube where it can then be encapsulated in asbestos guarding material. The other method which proved to be more feasible and the method which the group will pursue is cutting out the murals from the outside of the building and building a frame upon them which can be transported from the ECC structure.

Because of space restrictions in the proposed new ECC building outside of the meeting spaces the solution that John Lebo of Rolluda Architects and his team have come up with is to place the murals on the ceilings within the monitors which pay homage to the architect of the original ECC building Benjamin McAdoo. The murals would be looking down on everyone who comes to visit the ECC and be visible from all floors and all corners of the center. Concerns arose during the meeting that the murals would not be immediately visible should they be placed on the ceiling.

For more information please email ecc@uw.edu