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Art institute gala features custom clearspan

Project Briefs | August 1, 2009 | By:

Partytime Productions creates its own work of art for institute gala.

Matisse, Picasso, de Kooning and van der Rohe are among the masters featured in the Art Institute of Chicago’s recently opened Modern Wing. But it was the work of Partytime Productions of Addison, Ill., that was on display in May at the institute’s Grand Opening Gala for the new wing.

“Partytime Productions was brought in early on this project and was a vital part of the planning team,” says Rick Madeja, Partytime project manager.

The gala took place on Butler Field of Grant Park. Partytime provided and installed a 164-by-131-foot clearspan tent that included clear tops and one clear gable end. Glass walls were installed on three sides of the tent, offering attendees a view of the Chicago skyline as well as Lake Michigan. However, the event site posed challenges.

“Butler Field sits on an area that was once part of Lake Michigan. The landfill that was used to create this area, along with the wind that Chicago is famous for, makes safely anchoring a tent of this size a challenge,” Madeja says. “A top engineering company was consulted on the requirements to safely anchor this tent. Partytime went well beyond the engineer’s recommendations.”

The Chicago Park District restricted the use of the event site to eight days including set-up and takedown. To meet the time frame, a crew of 30, split into two shifts, installed the tent and equipment in five days and took everything down in three. A custom-raised and leveled flooring system was constructed using Bil-Jax flooring with &34frac;-inch plywood installed over it as the deck, and white hardboard flooring was installed as the finished flooring. Partytime provided turnkey service, including HVAC equipment and luxury restroom trailers.

Both the client and Partytime were satisfied with the outcome, and the event was well reviewed in the local, national and art world presses. The new wing makes the museum the second largest art institute in the United States.

“Our company is proud to have been a part of this prestigious event,” Madeja says.

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