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North Carolina artist to paint Core Laboratory ceilling dome

By Emily Ford
Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLISóA North Carolina artist with ties to Salisbury will paint the huge dome ceiling inside the Core Laboratory Building at the N.C. Research Campus.
Brenda Mauney Councill, of Blowing Rock, has spent the past six weeks working on a design for the dome with campus founder David H. Murdock.
Murdock’s decision to hire Councill ends a lengthy international search. Murdock recently flew two painters from India to Kannapolis and appeared ready to hire them, but said Thursday they “didn’t work out.”
He started consulting with Councill shortly after that.
Councill described the dome design as “vibrant, vivid and spectacular” and called it the brainchild of Murdock’s architect, Arnold Savrann of Castle & Cooke in Los Angeles.
The design will feature a “radiant sun” in the center, surrounded by fruits and vegetables painted in a representational style, Councill said.
It also will depict an eagle in flight, which is a “metaphor for Mr. Murdock himself,” she said.
The painted surface will cover 2,500 square feet, the largest dome Councill has tackled in her career. The dome’s diameter is 36 feet.
A tractor-trailer full of scaffolding will arrive next week. The scaffolding will take three days to erect and will reach 100 feet to the dome ceiling.
“It is an enormous undertaking,” Councill said.
Painting the dome will take about two months.
“It has been a rare pleasure working with Mr. Murdock,” Councill said. “He has been an integral part of this every step of the way.”
The Core Laboratory Building, the centerpiece of the N.C. Research Campus, should open this summer. Murdock, who owns Dole Food Co., wants the $1.5 billion biotechnology campus to focus on health and nutrition.
Councill’s father, the late Richard Councill, was from Salisbury. She still has a cousin here, Clyde Kizziah.
Councill specializes in large-scale murals, trompe l’oeil and narrative paintings on domed ceilings.
She painted the ceiling mural in the Biology Building at Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C., and the ceiling and wall mural in the Belk Library at Appalachian State University.
Contact Emily Ford at eford@salisburypost.com.

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