The original FAD Project plans did not include a dedicated rehearsal hall, or the FAD Audience Photo Mural. The room had been in use as costume and prop storage, and restoration of this area wasn’t part of the original project scope. Once exterior brick restoration began on the west wall it became evident that a large section of the west second story wall needed to be removed and completely rebuilt, therefore the costumes and props needed to be moved. A door was opened on the second floor between the two FAD buildings and the costumes and props were slowly relocated and reorganized in the south building. As the room opened up and project work gained momentum the obvious need for a dedicated rehearsal space became apparent. After discussion among board members, city officials, and the project architect, plans were redrawn to include the dedicated rehearsal space.
Ideas were shared about replicating the dimensions of the Farris stage in the room and once the ceiling was restored to the original 1905 finish height of 13’4”, the mural idea was hatched.
After research, GigaPan (a technology developed by Carnegie Melon University, NASA and Google), was chosen as the appropriate method to capture the size and quality of image required to replicate a seated audience on the north wall of the rehearsal hall.
The goals were simple: invite those closely associated with the FAD Project to participate, install a high quality image with a life span of at least 40 to 50 years, and create a life like “the audience is watching” experience for those who utilize the rehearsal hall.
Over a period of eight months, three potential photographers were consulted and test shots were taken. After months of planning Dice Photography was contracted to shoot and print the image 30’ wide by 13’ tall. Bill Gilbert of The Gilbert Group designed the lighting and assisted in meeting the challenges of turning the focus of the Farris to be from the perspective of the stage, and not from the audience seats.
The audience was by invitation and included individuals and their family members from: the Friends of the Farris, Inc. Board of Directors present, past, and emeritus; Farris Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors; FAD Project donors, volunteers and contractors; Friends of the Farris, Inc. employees; cast and crew members of the most recent Farris Youth Theatre Co. and Ray County Community Arts Association productions; and Friends of the Farris, Inc. 2012 Underwriter, Patron, and Performer memberships. Participants traveled from across town, across the state, Kansas, Illinois and New Mexico to participate in the mural.
The FAD Audience Photo Mural is now a destination in the Farris Arts District complex, designed to showcase those individuals responsible for the FAD Project and to honor the success of Friends of the Farris, Inc. for generations to come.
A reverse production. Shooting the photo mural from the stage "reversed the stage" and made the audience the star of the show. Bill Gilbert of The Gilbert Group designed the lighting utilizing Farris stage lights in early January, 2012 just prior to his untimely death. Bill's lighting design was supplemented with flash equipment from Dice Photography. Rob Swafford surveys the scene prior to the audience's arrival. This photo was taken by Max Hockemeier.