Creating Even More Wonder at the Grand Canyon
A National Geographic courtyard installation recreates the famed Arizona Trail.
Located on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, the National Geographic® Visitor Center is the first stop for hundreds of thousands of visitors to one of the world’s seven wonders. Featuring an IMAX theater and a staff that can tell you everything you want to know about the area, the center also has a history of housing a number of dramatic and artistic installations in its courtyard.
After a successful artistic rendition of the Grand Canyon by famed chalk artist Kurt Wenner, the center’s team was looking for another dramatic and beautiful feature for the courtyard.
Janet Rosener, general manager of the visitor’s center, was speaking with a friend who is a steward of the Arizona Trail, and that sparked an idea. “Why not recreate the Arizona Trail in our courtyard?” she asked.
The visitor center sits adjacent to the famous Arizona National Scenic Trail, which extends across the state of Arizona, from the border of Mexico to the border of Utah and is one of only 11 trails in the country recognized as a “scenic trail” by Congress. It was a perfect tie-in that would also raise awareness about another nearby natural wonder.
Tackling a daunting floor film project
It wasn’t an easy job for Phil Keesee and his team at Northern Arizona Signs in Flagstaff, Arizona, but they understood its importance. The installation would be approximately 40’ by 42’ and also would have a series of footsteps leading along the sidewalk to the trail entrance. Such a large, dramatic installation has enormous branding power, so they wanted to get every detail right. Keesee knew that he needed a durable material, since floor installations endure significant wear and tear. He chose 3M™ Scotchcal™ Graphic Film 3662 and 3M™ Scotchcal™ Matte Overlaminate 3647 for slip-resistance.
Keesee’s team took great care with the largest floor film project they had ever completed. The graphics even matched the terra cotta-color sidewalks. The installation went smoothly and has remained in good shape for two years, despite the punishing sun and weather conditions.
Visitors loved the feature and the ability to walk out and see the actual trail, says Rosener. By including facts and information about the nearby Arizona Trail, the team was able to create striking graphics that helped visitors learn more about the area, which further fulfills the center’s mission.
“We chose 3M products because when they say it’s going to work, it works,” he says.
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