Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Renovations at Hera Gallery, 327 Main Street

On my second day has the summer intern, Islay took me over to the downtown Wakefield location, where we met Alexandra to check out the building. We found a vacant room with leaf covered floors and cob webbed corners. The back room was full of old paint cans and more debris. Part of the flooring where the front office once stood was missing! There was also a mysterious hole in the ground through which you could see piping and dirt. We sat around on the bench and discussed moving the furniture back into the space.  This seemed pre-emptive, given the state of the floor, but we needed to know the size of the replacement floorboards that were needed.  I had measured the furniture pieces and hastily jotted down my findings while still in the Lilypads office earlier. I struggled to keep track of my mildly illegible handwriting as we mentally rearranged the desks and bookcases. 

I think that we finally decided on a way to fit everything we needed for the office. Then, it was on to the walls! Moisture must have seeped into the paint, and there were raised, cracked areas, some extending from floor to ceiling! We began the arduous, but kind of satisfying, task of peeling off areas that were damaged. Layers and Layers of paint and wall compound came off of damaged sections. The trash bags that we gathered the chunks into were so heavy! One wall was peeled floor to ceiling over a section about ten feet long. You could see strange messages written on the walls from a past art show. Something about Science Fiction. 

The next week, the walls had to be sanded, leveled and smoothed over.  There were hundreds of holes to be filled from art work of previous shows. Guess who got to fill them in? Yup, with some help from Donna, I filled in many of the holes in the walls. We teetered on ladders and got down on the floor to get to them all, but ran out of the spackling compound before even finishing them all! It was Donna peeled one floor to ceiling crack that hadn't gotten done, and Barbara and Jeff mudded, or smoothed wall compound on, the sections that had been peeled. Carl did some serious sanding, and Viera, Roberta, and Sandra worked inside and did gardening out in the summer heat as well. 

I came in later in the week to help Barbara prime the peeled wall that had the messages written on it. We finished pretty quickly as there were only a few other spots to prime, and Barbara edged the walls with a disposable brush.  

The real painting started last week, and began with the walls. We had so many volunteers that day that painting the entire gallery took only 2 hours! We had Jennifer, Kristina, Barbara, Donna, and Carl helping out to paint, and Alexandra and Sandra came by to help clean up. Jennifer and I did the edging, and again I found myself teetering on a ladder, this time with a paint and brush to juggle. We all found that the paint exactly matched the previous color, and spent a lot of time peering from side to side trying to tell were we had already painted! We had time before everyone left to get an American Gothic-esque group shot!
The floors have been cleaned this week by Barbara, Becky, and Dylan. We are so excited about the improvements that could not have been accomplished without the help of our members. The walls are brighter and whiter, the floors are swept, mopped, and cleared, and we'll soon be ready to move in! We are right on schedule for preparing for the Money show, which opens June 26th!! 

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