May 27th, 2012
With tropical storm Beryl bearing down on Jacksonville, we made a late decision yesterday to take the wall down this morning and bring everything back to the studio. At first we were just going to secure things, wrap some tape around the panels or lower the panels to the ground so they are flat. When the mayor cancelled the Jazz Festival for Sunday, it was clear that the storm meant serious business. Also, if everyone was in “take-down” mode, it would be easier to get a truck in and out of the area.
I called Dolf James to confirm our plan and he graciously volunteered the use of his trailer. If you are planning to do any large pieces you need to be able to move your stuff around. It’s great to have friends who have trucks and trailers and are willing to help you move things. Renting a big U-Haul would have been a big pain and expense.
We arrived at the site at about 7:45 and Ryan Buckley was already there, pulling up the anchors and unscrewing the support legs. We could fit 6 panels on Dolf’s trailer, which meant 5 trips to the studio. My brother Robert took care of stripping down the lighting, and our other friend Steve Arrington, helped us carry all the panels to the trailer. Dolf and I shuttled the first load not knowing what roads were opened. As we rounded the corner on Main and Bay, the 3 panels in the back fell over making a huge “crunching” sound. We straightened things up and within 20 feet they toppled again. Dolf pulled out a 12 inch piece of rope and managed to tie a line for support…we bumped our way over the cobblestones on Laura St. and finally arrived at the back entrance to the studio on Hogan. We had tried to secure the panels with a 1×4 screwed across all the frames. As we parked and prepared to unload I realized that I left the drill at the site. We just looked at each other…duh! We had no choice and just pulled the 3 connected panels off the trailer in one piece. They were pretty beat up anyways. Our conclusion was that we had 4 more tries to perfect our technique.
Within 2 hours we broke down and transported the installation back to the studio. It was a good feeling to have everything safe. I’m glad we didn’t go with the plan to leave the panels exposed during the storm. I’m also thankful to have some very competent friends and family who know how to work together. They just made it happen.