12 Small But Important Things To Observe In Decorative Wall Tile Murals

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12 Small But Important Things To Observe In Decorative Wall Tile Murals

The egret-themed asphalt mural that has graced the ancillary of the Cumberland Building… (Carline Jean / Sun Sentinel )

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July 18, 2012|By Larry Barszewski, Sun Sentinel

FORT LAUDERDALE — A five-story-tall, egret-themed asphalt circuitous on a burghal appointment architecture looks to be history — but not in a way preservationists would prefer.

The circuitous is falling to pieces and efforts to save it arise to be crumbling as well.

Tiles from the 1974 circuitous mural done by bounded artisan John de Groot began falling off the bank afterwards a storm beforehand this year, architecture admiral said. A architecture access beneath the circuitous has been cordoned off to anticipate visitors from actuality hit by the falling pieces.

De Groot, who opened the city’s aboriginal art arcade in the 1940s, acclimated added than a half-million hand-cut and hand-glazed bowl tiles to actualize the mural on the Cumberland Building, 800 E. Broward Blvd.

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The building’s buyer has activated for a admittance to breach bottomward the actual allocation of the mural and alter it with stucco. Even admitting the artwork is beneath than a half-century old, bounded preservationists are concerned.

“It would be a abashment to abort it in lieu of aloof putting up some stucco,” said Susan McClellan, who leads the city’s Historic Preservation Board. “It’s a admirable allotment of artwork and it should be saved.”

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But that’s not activity to happen, said Tom Tighe, advocate for the building’s owner, CUM Inc. Restoration would be amount prohibitive for the company, he said.

“The burghal and all these bodies who are calling us, they appetite a clandestine being to accommodate accessible art. That’s socialism,” Tighe said.

Officials accept there’s little they can do apropos the mural, which has no actual designation.

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“I don’t anticipate accurately there’s any way of preventing him from accomplishing what he wants to do to the building,” said Commissioner Romney Rogers, who acclimated to accept an appointment there.

Steve Glassman, carnality administrator of the Broward County Actual Commission, would at atomic like to see the tiles salvaged so the mural can be adequate elsewhere.

“If we can’t save it there, we charge to put our cerebration caps on and acquisition a abode for it,” Glassman said.

Tighe said no one has approached him with that idea, but he said addition would still accept to pay the added costs complex and abounding of the tiles are already gone.

“A lot of the tiles were broken, they were shattered, they were swept up,” Tighe said. “It’s not like we’re starting to rip it down. It’s already decidedly falling down.”

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News of the mural’s annihilation afflicted de Groot’s daughter, Alayne Edwards of Sterling, Va., who remembers her ancestor application a aerial academy gym attic to lay out the tiles.

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“I anticipation it was beautiful,” said Edwards, 79. “It was his better work.”

De Groot, who died in 1989, additionally created corrective or asphalt murals on added bounded buildings, such as the Yankee Clipper, Sheraton, Escape and added bank hotels. Abounding of his asphalt mosaics are on the cheers of bounded pools.

Edwards said the Cumberland circuitous wouldn’t be the aboriginal of her father’s works to be absent to history, back best of them abide at the whim of architecture owners. She remembers how a mural he did at the now-demolished Governor’s Club Hotel was taken bottomward while he was still animate because the building’s dĂ©cor changed.

Even if the circuitous could be adequate area it is, Tighe doesn’t anticipate it would accept a continued future.

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“The building’s already 40 years old,” Tighe said. “I don’t anticipate it’s activity to be actuality in addition 40 years.”

lbarszewski@tribune.com or 954-356-4556

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