Picture this Large project lands in lap of Holland firm

May 10, 2010
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A lot of people can whip their favorite photo out of a wallet, but not Jan Mulder. When he wants people to see his favorite photo, a bunch of people have to get it out of a truck and put it together.

Mulder’s photo is 120 feet wide and 38 feet high, and it was printed for him recently in Holland by Big Picture Imaging. The photo is of the Grand Foyer of the Palais Garnier in Paris, the ornate home of the Paris Opera, built more than 135 years ago on the orders of Napoleon III.

Mulder, a native of the Netherlands who now makes his home in Florida, is an acclaimed classical concert pianist and composer who performs throughout the world. A couple of years ago he had an idea for a backdrop to use in his performances — but where does one find a gigantic photo of the Grand Foyer of the Palais Garnier?

Mulder, who recently made a large donation of sheet music by European composers to Hope College, had been working with a marketing professional from Holland who put him in touch with Al Ashbaugh, one of the principles of Big Picture Imaging.

Big Picture can produce images on vinyl panels 10 feet wide, which isn’t really a rarity anymore, but the challenge was getting a photographic image of such high resolution that it could be blown up to a tremendous size and still be a highly detailed image as viewed by the audience in a concert hall. Ashbaugh said they solved that when they found a professional photographer who made a series of high-resolution photos at the Palais Garnier, which were then electronically “stitched together” at Big Picture into one massive image.

When people come into the concert hall and see the photo suspended behind the musicians, it’s like they really are in the Grand Foyer.

The backdrop is “bigger than some buildings you might see downtown,” said Ashbaugh. “It really is a magnificent thing to see.”

Ashbaugh said Mulder wants his audiences to experience more than just the sound of the music — he wants their minds fully engaged.

So what does a 120-by-38-foot photo cost?

Ashbaugh said Mulder wanted to “just kind of keep that under his hat.”

PRSA salutes DeVos

The Public Relations of Society of West Michigan recently hosted its annual “PRoof” Awards at the Grand Rapids Art Museum.

Two Web projects caught the eyes of the judges: Amway scion Rick DeVos was named Communicator of the Year for ArtPrize and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation was honored with the PRoof Premier Award for Best-in-Show for launching hyper-local news site The Rapidian.

Jeff Lambert, president of Lambert, Edwards & Associates, PRWeek Magazine’s 2010 Small Agency of the Year, was named PR Professional of the Year. Social media gadfly John Gonzalez, entertainment/features editor of The Grand Rapids Press, was Media Person of the Year. Amy Sawade, a 2009 Grand Valley State University alum and public relations specialist for the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, was chosen as Newcomer of the Year for her efforts to attract more young people at the gardens. Ferris State University senior Mikinzie Stuart snagged Student of the Year for her PRep Guide blog, which has garnered national attention.

Gaining notice for projects and campaigns: GVSU, four Gold and two Silver Awards; LE&A, five Gold; Priority Health, two Gold and three Silver; Grand Rapids Community Foundation, four Gold; and Seyferth & Associates, two Silver. Winning single awards were Clare Wade Communications, Silver; Amway, Gold; Alexander Marketing, Gold; Pfizer Inc., Gold.

Granholm receives some credit

ClinXus Executive Director and Chief Medical Officer Bill Baer told the Business Journal that he was impressed with the time and attention Gov. Jennifer Granholm offered to the Michigan delegation to last week’s BIO International conference in Chicago.

“It’s actually a huge conference in Chicago,” the internist at Grand Valley Medical Specialists said. He was there to market ClinXus and the capabilities of its 10 West Michigan partners for clinical trials from pre-clinical to Phase 4. “They just had President Bush and President Clinton speak for two hours.

“There was a little Michigan deal we had last evening and I got to spend some time with Jennifer Granholm and talk about some of the research and efforts. I thought she’d kind of bounce in and bounce out. She stayed there for an hour and a half and made sure she talked to everybody, which I was really impressed with.

“Kind of the reason I am at BIO International this week is to kind of really show where West Michigan shines and how we can kind of move forward with some of this very innovative research and the infrastructure we’ve created with ClinXus,” he said. “We’re trying to get little West Michigan on the map.”

Ehlers receives kudos

The Center for American Progress Action Fund last week credited U.S. Rep. Vern Ehlers as one of the key movers of legislation to encourage investment in more energy-efficient homes.

"Today’s bipartisan passage of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 by the U.S. House of Representatives is a critical milestone on the road to economic recovery, ending America’s jobs crisis, and lessening our dependence on polluting and importing energy,” said the center’s Bracken Hendricks.

“The alliance behind this $6 billion rebate program to encourage Americans to invest in more energy-efficient homes is nothing short of historic, bringing together unlikely allies including the National Association of Manufacturers, the Laborer’s International Union of North America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and the League of Conservation Voters. At a time of deep national division on so many critical policy issues, the ability of these groups to find common cause in restoring our economy offers a better way forward. 

"We applaud the strong bipartisan leadership of Reps. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, and Vernon Ehlers, R-Michigan, and all of their colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives for their decisive action on passing a bill that quickly creates high-quality American jobs,” Hendricks said. “We encourage their colleagues in the U.S. Senate to prioritize job creation and energy independence by quickly passing their own bill to provide to the president without further delay."

Attractive nuisance may be doomed

A house at 3167 Bristol in Walker has been designated an “attractive nuisance” by city officials. Monday night they are going to consider bids for demolition of the house owned by Walker Orchard Land Partners LLC.

The decaying abandoned house — attractive to rodents, vagrants and young two-legged party animals but probably no one else — is on 300 acres of former agricultural land that was supposed to have been a major retail development by now, with a Cabela’s sporting goods store serving as the big magnet.

The Great Recession changed all that.

Walker City Commissioner Al Parent said Zach Bossenbroek, an attorney representing the developers, came to a city council months ago and “claimed they don’t have the money” to pay for removing the house. Parent said Bossenbroek indicated the developers are willing to let the city take care of it and put a lien on the property, for the time being.

Bossenbroek was not available for comment.

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