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Celebrating Patterns of Life



In 2000, several local organizations came together to produce a new piece of public art in Berea, Kentucky. The Berea Arts Council and the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development joined forces with the Arts Council providing the artists and MACED providing its building for the canvas.


Funding was provided by The Kentucky Foundation for Women, Appalachian Federal Credit Union, Peoples Bank of Madison County, Cumberland Valley National Bank and Trust Company, First Southern National Bank (Paint Lick) and the Bank of Mount Vernon.


Click for images of the completed mural, details on the original meaning of the mural’s design and biographies of the artists.


The Problem

MACED’s historic office building once housed the famous Dixie Kitchen restaurant. It was renovated by MACED in 1989 and at that time, the bricks were painted white.


As the years passed, trouble was brewing in the brick walls. Mortar cracks allowed moisture to enter the brick walls and the paint trapped it so the vapor was not able to properly escape. Rather than evaporating through the exterior, the moisture escaped through the plaster and began to deteriorate the interior walls. Click to view images of the damaged interior walls.


The Solution

Steps were taken to find a solution by patching the interior walls, but eventually the problem became too great and MACED was forced to remove all of the paint from the building, including the mural.


Bates Building Maintenance, based in Corbin, Kentucky, was hired to remove the troublesome paint, repair the mortar and then apply a special sealant that allows moisture to escape from the bricks. Bates Building Maintenance is highly skilled in the restoration of old brickwork and has worked on several buildings on the campus of Berea College as well as the Middletown School.


To remove the paint, the contractors will use a product called Enviro Klean that is specially formulated to reduce environmental and applicator risks. The process began in December 2006 and is expected to be complete by June 2007. Click for images of the restoration in process.


What's Next?

After it’s cleaned off, the brick will be covered with a special, breathable sealer. It is not yet decided whether a white sealer will be used (which would look like white paint) or a clear sealer. That decision will be made when the existing paint is stripped and the condition of the bricks is revealed.


In addition to the external building renovation, an internal renovation is currently in progress. New paint, carpet, vinyl and countertops will be installed in the entire building. The upstairs, which was greatly damaged by the moisture issues, will endure a much more extensive renovation including new drywall and changes to the floor plan.


More images will be added as the renovation progresses. Be sure to check back for additional pictures of both the interior and exterior.