Logoed barns to celebrate Surf Ohio 35th anniversary
Logoed barns to celebrate Surf Ohio 35th Anniversary
At least one per 88 counties in state to be painted by 2013
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 31 March, 2011 : - - Dayton, OH - Surf Ohio today revealed an ambitious plan to see its trademarked logo painted on at least one barn in each of the state’s 88 counties, all to be completed by April of 2013 – the 35th anniversary of the iconic lifestyle brand.
Similar to the now famous Ohio Bicentennial Barn project, which began in 1999 and culminated during the state’s 200th anniversary in 2003, the Surf Ohio logo will be hand-painted by multiple teams of trained artisans at about 20-feet square in size on barns volunteered by their owners. Several owners in the “Surf Ohio Barn Project,” its official name, have offered use of their barns previously adorned with the Bicentennial logo but are now in need of repainting.
While lost on a back road in Cuyahoga County last summer, it was the sight of a fading Bicentennial paint job that first gave Surf Ohio founder and CEO, Ron Kaplan, the idea to put his logo on barns. “As an artist, I notice such things,” said Kaplan, “and thought, ‘Why not ask the owner if we could spiff up his barn by putting a big ‘Surf Ohio’ it?’” Getting the permission of that weathered barn’s owner, dairy farmer Virgil Snorkweiler, was the easy part, as Kaplan soon discovered.
While doing a quick exterior inspection of Snorkweiler’s 107-year-old barn, Kaplan dealt with dodging aromatic cowpatties, amorous fowl, an angry raccoon, and swarms of flies and hornets that indicated he might just want to hand this project off to someone else. Thankfully, Snorkweiler referred him to Scott Hagan, the original painter of all of the barns for the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, and who thus had painted Snorkweiler’s back in 1999.
Kaplan connected with Hagan the next day, finding that the program had launched Hagan on a thriving career of painting barns throughout the Midwest (www.barnartist.com). Hagan shared with the Kaplan the history of the Bicentennial barn project in full detail, including how it took him four years and 645 gallons of Sherwin-Williams paint to complete all 88 Bicentennial barns. An inspired Kaplan convinced Hagan to help, realizing that Surf Ohio should undertake a similar campaign as soon as possible, commencing in April 2011 and culminating in April 2013 – Surf Ohio’s 35th anniversary.
“In addition to coordinating the Snorkweiler’s barn painting last fall - our prototype project for Surf Ohio - Scott has been a wellspring of technical know-how and contacts with the state,” praised Kaplan. “He also enabled us to survey the owners of the remaining Bicentennial barns, rapidly determining how many would similarly desire theirs be refreshed with Surf Ohio logo.” Age, accidental fires, neglect and urban sprawl have claimed a number of those barns since 2003. Eventually, all but 23 owners opted to keep Hagan’s original Bicentennial schemes.
“That’s totally cool – I still love them, too,” said Kaplan of the Bicentennial-schemed barns. “So late last year we put the word out through 4-H Clubs, farm cooperatives and county extension services, inviting any interested owners to submit photos of their barns for the Surf Ohio Barn Project.” Barns are considered in part based on their condition and visibility to the public. By January, Surf Ohio had received nearly 300 inquiries including several offers of silos – plus six barns from Michigan and five each in Kentucky and Indiana. “And we’re still receiving about two inquiries a week!” exclaimed Kaplan.
The pair initially sought state support to fund the project last fall. According to their estimates, the minimum cost to prep and apply Surf Ohio to the side of a barn is approximately $2,100, factoring size, condition of surface to be painted, and travel expenses. “Last October we lobbied the Ohio Arts Council for a subsidy, enough that might also cover a commemorative coffee table book,” Kaplan said. “They were lining up a $250,000 grant, but then after November’s election, OAC said ‘no dice,’” laments Kaplan. However, with new Governor (John Kasich) being a Surf Ohio fan since the 1980’s, a check for $267.35 arrived from the state, apparently Division of Tourism money leftover from former Governor Strickland’s ‘Beautify Buckeye Farms Fund.’ “It’s almost enough to cover our costs for mosquito repellent,” said a grateful Hagan.
Surf Ohio’s ‘Plan B’ was to quickly solicit corporate benefactors for the painting of each barn. Immediate interest came from former Surf Ohio event sponsors Monster Energy and Land Shark Lager, however most of their contribution was offered ‘in kind.’ “We were totally game for that, but our insurance carrier nixed the deal,” explained Kaplan. “Apparently OSHA had some issues with combining caffeinated painters on 40-foot scaffolding with unlimited beer.”
This meant preparing an 11th hour ‘Plan C’ – proposing that prospective participants pony up the costs, should their barn be selected. Kaplan sweetened the deal by throwing in free Surf Ohio t-shirts, stickers and beach towels – enough to cover every barn owner and his or her immediate family. “Virgil had me rethinking that offer immediately after I made it,” mused Kaplan, “given that he and Esther have twelve kids!” Only 17 owners have opted out under the new plan thus far, meaning that over 200 barns and silos will be painted with Surf Ohio by 2013.
The massive and expanding scope of this ambitious undertaking requires that teams of painters be quickly formed, trained and dispersed across the state starting later this month. Considering some of the unique hazards and meager budget involved in the Surf Ohio Barn Project, Kaplan is going the recruiting route used by Antarctic explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, for his 1914 expedition, posting this ad April 1st at several Ohio paint stores and art schools:
“Hearty artists wanted for hazardous project. Sweltering heat, swarms of pests, low wages, long hours of drudgery. Clean return doubtful. Honor, recognition and t-shirts in event of completion.”
Surf Ohio Barn Project
Surf Ohio LLC
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