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A Building Becomes a Work of Art

Run-down building of Long Beach, California becomes canvas for local artists. by Kacey King

The Arts Council of Long Beach, California, along with the Long Beach Redevelopment Agency and Downtown Long Beach Associates, were looking to improve the North Pine area of the city.

“North Pine has traditionally not received the same resources as the rest of downtown, and we are committed to change that,” says Long Beach Council member Robert Garcia.

Their efforts focused on the city’s Newberry Building. Located in downtown Long Beach just south of Fifth Street, the building “was a perfect candidate for transforming a street-level eyesore into something much more interesting, creative, and attractive,” says Craig Watson, executive director for the Council for Long Beach.

The idea was to transform the rundown Newberry Building into a work of art that would bring images from the local arts and culture scene to a broader audience. At the same time, the graphics carried specific institution images and names, designed to propel passersby to these particular institutions.

The Arts Council of Long Beach contacted former business partner Iconography Studios in Los Alamitos, California to produce the graphics that would transform the run-down building.

“Three local museums provided artwork for the graphics,” says Iconography president
Sarah Naccarato. “We worked with the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Museum of Latin American Art, and the University Art Museum to get the images for these 8-foot tall x 100-foot long window graphics.”

Once the artwork was acquired, Iconography used its Roland XC-540 printer with Roland Versaworks RIP to image onto Oracal Orajet 3651 perforated window film. The graphics were printed in panels of 8 feet x 54 inches. Oracal Oraguard 210 PVC overlaminate was then applied with a Royal Sovereign 1400-C laminator to protect the graphics from fading in the sun.

Total time from receipt of the Adobe Illustrator files to installation was three weeks. The graphics were installed in June and will remain in place for 18 months. “This should be the first of several such transformations,” says Watson. “We can use [these graphics] to bring images from our local arts-and-culture scene to a broader audience.”

“This was a joint effort between several local government agencies and three museums,” says Iconography’s Naccarato. “The project had several purposes: beautification of a vacant downtown building, promoting the arts, and promoting local museums. It really says a lot about the effort and professionalism of everyone involved, as this project went from design to installation within a matter of weeks.”

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