• Tank inspired by award-winning sculpture is Tnemec's 2010 Tank of the Year
Jan. 5, 2010 -- When the City of Newton, Kansas, considered designs for a new 500,000 gallon potable water tank, officials didn't look any further for inspiration than the nearby Blue Sky Sculpture, which in 2008 was designated as one of the "8 Wonders of Kansas Art" by the Kansas Sampler Foundation. Working with the sculpture's creator, artist and designer Phil Epp, the city negotiated a permanent reproduction of his signature work for use on the water tank.
Blue Sky Sculpture is a 20 foot by 30 foot glazed tile mosaic that features clouds set against a bright blue sky. The collaborative effort of Epp and ceramists, Terry Corbett and Conrad Snider, consists of an arched surface divided by a "sky passageway" and two abstract stoneware figures. "The sculpture experience is intended to enhance the viewer's observance of the surrounding sky and take a leading role in the visual drama," Epp explained in a newspaper interview. "The large area of luminous blue in contrast with the white clouds and life-size stoneware figures makes this a unique work of art."
In 2008, The Kansas Sampler Foundation invited the public to nominate public art from across the state, which was narrowed by a selection committee to a list of 24 finalists for the overall "8 Wonders of Kansas Art" competition. Online voting open to the public determined the eight selections, which included the Blue Sky Sculpture. The Kansas Sampler Foundation is a public non-profit whose mission is to preserve, sustain, and grow rural culture. Find out more at www.kansassampler.org.
The new municipal water tank replaced an existing standpipe that was built in 1905. A scale model of the new water tank was used in creating the exterior artwork that mimicked Blue Sky Sculpture. "Phil Epp and Newton City Engineer Suzanne Loomis matched Tnemec colors to recreate the artist's original desired effect," according to coating consultant Rick Penner. "To further enhance the uniqueness of the tank's image, the city installed uplighting at the base of the tower."
The palette of colors selected for the tank's exterior included Tnemec's 20BL Splash, 15BL Tank White, 21BL K.C. Blue, 71BL Horizon Blue, 10BL Cornflower, 35GR Black and 24GR Lightpole. The tank's coating system consisted of a shop-applied primer coat of Series 91-H2OHydro-Zinc, a zinc-rich urethane, which is also certified in accordance with NSF/ANSI Std. 61 for use on interior potable water tanks. Exterior steel received a roller-applied intermediate coat of Series 73 Endura-Shield, an acrylic polyurethane, followed by a finish coat of Series 700 HydroFlon, an advanced fluoropolymer topcoat that offers outstanding long-term gloss and color retention.
"HydroFlon was specified to ensure the longest lasting coating system possible," Penner observed. "When you have a decorative tank like this, you want it to last as long as possible. The life of the water tank painting will be extended by at least 10 years because it has been coated with HydroFlon."
The shop and field applicator on the project was Phoenix Fabricators of Sebree, Kentucky, which assembled the new tank on the ground and lifted it by crane onto its pedestal. The same company also removed the existing standpipe after installation of the new water tank was completed.
Tnemec Company's Tank of the Year Award is designed to recognize and celebrate beautiful, creative and innovative uses of Tnemec coatings. New and renovated projects may be nominated and all styles of tank constructions are eligible for judging by a panel of water tank enthusiasts. Judging is based on several criteria including artistic value, significance of the tank to the surrounding community and challenges encountered during the project.
Previous winners include the rose water tank in Rosemont, Illinois; hot air balloon tanks in Anderson, South Carolina; the Lakes Eagles waterspheroid in Lake Villa, Illinois; and the sports figures water tank in Dublin, Ohio.