Color Fuses Mural Restored in Indianapolis

Medium shot of Minton-Capehart Federal Building multi-colored exterior wall and stairwell, part of the Color Fuses muralFor the first time since its installation in 1975, Milton Glaser's Color Fuses mural encircling the base of the Minton-Capehart Federal Building in Indianapolis, Ind., has been completely restored under the guidance of GSA’s Fine Arts Program and funding from the Recovery Act.

Completing the two-month project in July 2012, professional conservators worked with the world-renowned artist and GSA on a detailed analysis of the weathered paint and surfaces to provide restored color and lighting recommendations meeting the artist's approval.

Highly skilled painters then cleaned, primed, and repainted the mural while technicians replaced the work's incandescent lamps and lighting controls with an energy-efficient LED system, providing more uniform illumination across the mural's surface.

Programmed Light Illumination
Color Fuses celebrates the interplay of color and light. To further this effect at night, Glaser programmed the exterior perimeter lighting to illuminate his mural with a slow rise and fall sequence. This rhythm alludes to the gradual rising and setting of the sun and the timeless wonder associated with the qualities of light as it shifts and reveals itself on the horizon. The mural's lighting operates in the early evening hours for nighttime display.

Description of the Work
Color Fuses consists of 35 bands of color and corresponding illumination wrapping the base of the Minton-Capehart building. Commissioned by GSA's Art in Architecture program in 1974, the piece emerged from collaboration between Glaser and architect Evans Woolen, who shared the goal of making the austere building more appealing to the public. 

At the time of its installation, Color Fuses was one of the world’s largest contiguous murals, measuring 672 feet in length. Today it continues to enhance and enliven the pedestrian experience through an energizing interaction of color and light.  

Artist's Background
Milton Glaser has had a major impact on contemporary illustration and design for more than 50 years. He is known for iconic images such as the “I [heart] NY” logo and the international AIDS symbol. His portfolio is diverse and prolific, including book jackets, album covers, print advertisements, corporate brands, illustrations, posters, environmental and interior design projects, and architecture. In 2009 President Barack Obama awarded Milton Glaser the National Medal of the Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence.

Last Reviewed 2016-02-12