The new mural installed at McGranahan Architects is the latest in Tacoma’s grassroots Hope Grows Here campaign. The campaign which originated in the early days of the Covid-19 lockdown, offers flowers for Tacoma as a way of adding beauty to our community, thanking those battling this pandemic, and connecting with one another. Our office wanted to add our message of thanks for the healthcare workers who are helping keep us safe, as well as express support to members of our community who protect, heal, and educate during these difficult times. Words of encouragement and signs of support are important to developing the resolve to get through and power on.
Project Architect Brett Santhuff came up with the concept for the artwork this spring inspired by the signs he was seeing sprout on other storefronts. That same time we all started working from home and public events, like the Daffodil Parade which passes directly in front of our office each year, were canceled. In style and execution, the artwork pays homage to Andy Warhol, who’s never realized flower design for the roof of the Tacoma Dome has become part of the city’s alter ego.
“I’ve long had affinity for Warhol and his work, graphic style, and ability to transform the ordinary to art. Andy Warhol’s Flowers for Tacoma, 2012, exhibit is among my favorites organized by the Tacoma Art Museum,” said Brett. “When the idea for this work originated, I realized how fun it would be to explore Warhol’s work and try to make something of my own and for Tacoma. It was just the kind of creative outlet I needed to feel engaged and hopeful in those first weeks of lockdown.”
Brett shared his idea and a rendering for the mural with the office as part of a digital art gallery which the office organized to help keep employees connected. The idea took root and with the support of the partners and other staff the design was refined and the technicalities resolved. ARC Reprographic printed the artwork on perforated vinyl and installed it at cost. McGranahan’s Leah Engelhardt, whose hobbies include paper cut art, volunteered to cut out the letters.
“How fun to see Brett’s idea come alive! We wanted to share in the energy and determination of our community as we wrestle with so many important issues and work towards healing and progress. Here are a few flowers from all of us to all of you to help brighten the neighborhood a little,” stated Marc Gleason, Principal for Design.
The mural now gives the McGranahan Architects building a colorful and welcoming charm among the many artistic displays throughout the city of Tacoma.