After the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, many people in the city wanted a way to address what had happened. One, Joseph McKean, owned a building in the downtown area, not far from the Oklahoma County Detention Center. He commissioned Lee Shortridge, an art professor at Oral Roberts University, to paint a mural on the side of the building.
Shortridge enlisted the help of several students in creating his work, which reflects on the “Allegories of Redemption” theme. The mural includes 27 human figures, representing all races. Original plans called for the artists to work directly on the building, however, that plan was scrapped in favor of a more complicated, but ultimately more workable design involving a series of 850-pound, 11’ x 8.5’ concrete panels being painted at ORU and then transported to the building for installation.
Because the panels would be constantly exposed to the elements, coating selection was important. Tnemec protective coatings were selected because of their durability. Shortridge mixed the different paint colors himself to create the custom color blends that he and his students then airbrushed on the panels prior to installation.
The artists used Series 27 F.C. Typoxy, a versatile, low-temperature polyamide epoxy that provides fast curing capabilities, as the primer. Series 73 Endura-Shield, an acrylic polyurethane highly resistant to abrasion, wet conditions, corrosive fumes, chemical contact and exterior weathering, was used as the intermediate coat. For the topcoat, they chose Series 76 Endura-Clear. This unique acrylic polyurethane clear coat is used to both enhance the finish and extend the long-term weathering qualities of Endura-Shield. Additionally it resists most graffiti markings, making it a great choice for the Oklahoma City Mural which will no doubt be seen by millions of people in downtown OKC.
According to Tnemec coating consultant Don Stanek, the project started in 1998 and completed in 2000. A visual inspection was performed in 2007 and the artwork still looks as good as when it was initially applied.