TRAVERSE CITY — Team Elmer’s likely would win in a contest for best-decorated construction equipment.
That’s because the company’s fleet now includes two artsy vehicles: a concrete truck painted pink for breast cancer awareness and a 40-ton demolition trailer with nearly 250 colorful handprints topped by a gigantic summertime mural.
“Those are the gems of our fleet,” said Tonya Wildfong, co-owner of Team Elmer’s, which provides asphalt, concrete, excavation and crane services in the region.
The new mobile mural is the work of Artists Creating Together-Grand Traverse, a regional nonprofit that aims to "disable disabilities" by bringing students with disabilities together with artists and art projects.
It was created with the help of Wildfong, ACT-Grand Traverse director Dayna Ryan, local artist and project manager Marcia Borell, and Signplicity Sign Systems. Together they came up with the design from student suggestions and tweaked it to transform a rusty, round-bottom trailer into a showcase of art by people with disabilities.
“It’s a Lake Michigan theme: cherries, sun, sailboats, ice cream cones, footprints in the sand,” said Wildfong, who helped paint over taped stencil designs on vinyl canvas at "color stations" set up at a National Cherry Festival Special Kids Day event. The completed design was shown off in a festival parade, then transferred to decal and permanently applied to the truck.
“The truck needed to be painted and it was either take it to a paint booth or do that," said Wildfong, who added her handprint to the others. "I think it’s a better use of the truck. It’s like a moving billboard for ACT. It’s a wonderful group.”
Borell, who has painted several murals including a wall-size Book of the Dead for the Dennos Museum Center's Egypt exhibition, said the biggest challenge was the prep work involved in making the project accessible to participants and "do-able" in just one morning.