City chooses glass beads to light up old acid ball

City officials have come to a decision on what to do with an industrial artifact from the former Georgia-Pacific mill on Bellingham’s waterfront.

The “acid ball” – a spherical steel tank used to store acid that helped break down wood chips at the G-P pulp and paper mill – will be moved to a new waterfront park and will be embellished with beads, creating a glowing beacon of light, according to a news release from the city.

“Waypoint,” a concept from Mutuus Studio of Burien, was selected from more than 25 art proposals. Many of the proposals involved painting, sawing, puncturing and otherwise altering the ball, but the Bellingham Arts Commission recommended a more minimalist approach of coating it with luminescent glass beads.

Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville approved the recommendation after the commission’s meeting on Jan. 18.

“We were intrigued by the idea of applying a newer industrial material onto the existing industrial object in a way that gives it new life,” AnMorgan Curry, director of the Mindport Gallery downtown and one of the jurors, said in a news release. “This proposal encapsulates the past and highlights the existing beauty of the object while engaging the viewers in a fresh relationship with the acid ball.”

The glass coating is durable and self-cleaning, posing minimal maintenance and safety concerns, city officials said.

The acid ball will be moved to the Whatcom Waterway Park near the Granary Building on Central Avenue. Work on the park is scheduled to begin this year. The park is expected to be open to the public in 2018.

The project is being paid for by the City’s One Percent for the Arts program, which allocates 1percent of large capital projects for the incorporation of public artwork.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

Related stories from Bellingham Herald