Ghost Ballet Sculpture

Set against the skyline of Nashville, Tennessee, the Ghost Ballet sculpture is a spirited expression of the city’s past and present with its spiral-shaped steel trusses and bridgework featuring an overcoat of red, gray, and maroon fluoropolymer coating systems from Tnemec.

“Red is a popular color used for bridges in downtown Nashville and its stadium,” observed Tiffany Goulet of NexGen Coating Resources, Inc. “City officials have seen what happens when red fades over time, so they wanted a coating system with long-term color and gloss retention.”

Completed in 2008, the sculpture’s original epoxy and urethane coating system was starting to fade and rust in places, so the team at NexGen worked with the coating contractor to determine the best surface preparation and coating systems to restore the sculpture.

Prior to recoating, the existing urethane coatings were evaluated for adhesion to make sure they were suitable for overcoating. Rusted areas of the sculpture were prepared in accordance with SSPC–SP 11 Power Tool Cleaning to Bare Metal and the original coating was mechanically abraded.

Following surface preparation, the red and maroon sections of the sculpture received a primer coat of Series 73 Endura-Shield, an aliphatic acrylic polyurethane coating that resists weathering. The primer coat was applied at 2.0 to 3.0 mils dry film thickness (DFT). A finish coat of Series 1070 Fluoronar, a high-solids fluoropolymer coating, was applied at 2.0 to 3.0 mils DFT. Fluoronar resists ultraviolet (UV) light while providing outstanding gloss and color retention.

“Both the red and maroon were custom colors that we matched from the original coatings,” Goulet recalled. “The sculpture is on the east bank of the Cumberland River, so all of the coatings were applied using brush and rollers.”

Gray colored sections of the sculpture received a barrier/primer coat of Series 27 F.C. Typoxy, a polyamide epoxy coating, which was applied at 2.0 to 3.0 DFT. Series 27 F.C. offers fast curing and rapid handling capabilities. The topcoat was Series 1070 Fluoronar.

Formally titled Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks, the $500,000 sculpture was the first public art project funded under the City of Nashville’s “percent-for-art” ordinance, which earmarks revenues from bond sales to pay for artworks throughout the city. The Ghost Ballet was recognized as one of the top pieces of public art in 2007 during the Americans for the Arts annual convention.

    Project Information

    Nashville, Tennessee

    October 2014

    City of Nashville

    Commercial Painting, Inc. of Nashville, Tennessee

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