The mural we’re talking about this week is a giant, freestanding sculpture piece to celebrate Schlitterbahn’s 40th anniversary. I’m talking about the massive rainbow 40 placed beautifully in front of the iconic Schlitterbahn castle and Hillside Tube Chute. In today’s blog post, I’ll introduce you to the hardworking team behind the project and the process to create the giant work of art.

All the Colors of the 40

Our artistic mastermind gathered inspiration from EPS foam enthusiasts on YouTube and Google. The team had to order a few specific tools to carve shapes out of the foam, including a hot wire tool that resembles a 4 foot archery bow. With an order of five 2-pound density blocks of EPS foam; each measuring 8’ tall, 4’ wide, and 18” deep; they were ready to begin constructing the giant 40.

Before they prepared the final foam pieces, they built a small replica to scale the measurements and plan out the color scheme:

Now that they have the measurements figured out, the group can begin cutting the large foam blocks into the desired number shapes. Here they are mapping out the shapes to cut out the number 4:

Once the basic shapes of the 40 were finished, they covered the structures with a steel barrier to prevent any damages from the wind or from innocent bystanders. The sculpture is intended to be touched and engaged with, so this step was absolutely necessary to ensure the structure would remain stable:

After the steel barriers covered the entire sculpture, they covered that with another layer of foam to keep a smooth exterior. Next, they covered the structures in surface mesh and a custom blend of flexible mortar. They added several layers over the course of several weeks. This process builds a strong, cemented external layer to prevent any possible damages:

Now that the foundations are set in place, we are ready to paint the rainbow! They were under a tight schedule to get this bad boy out in the park before Memorial Day weekend. The Schlitterbahn design team came in and everyone was painting with full force:

Team Behind the 40

Our Corporate Trade and Marketing Coordinator, Casey Wilkinson, is the creative genius behind the giant 40 masterpiece. Schlitterbahn wanted some sort of art piece to commemorate the 40th anniversary while still creating a place for guests to take pictures. Wilkinson, who has a degree in art from the University of Texas at Austin, told everyone that she was ready to take on the project. She has been kicking around the idea of having a 40th anniversary sculpture since 2018, with the goal of having it ready for the 2019 season. After doing lots of research on how to construct the sculpture, she pitched it to her supervisors and got the green light.

“I wanted to do something impactful to celebrate the company’s birthday,” said Wilkinson. “The giant 40 concept just seemed like the perfect fit for that goal and my skills. I’m pretty sure Bob and Billye would be proud of me.”

Wilkinson is grateful for all the help she received to build the giant 40, especially from design team colleague Brandon Barnes. He committed to working on this sculpture though many late nights after work hours. Barnes is a traditional artist turned graphic designer, trading in his pencil and paper for a mouse and keyboard. He grew up drawing his favorite cartoon characters and later earned an associates in Digital Media and Design and Visual Arts with a bachelors in Business Management.

“The graphics team is awesome, hands down best department at Schlitterbahn,” said Barnes. “I think we have a well versed group of designers who each have their own strengths.”

When he is not working tirelessly with the Schlitterbahn design team, he dabbles in creating all kinds of art pieces. Custom t-shirts, birdhouses and occasionally freelance portraits and landscapes. There really isn’t anything this guy can’t do. Barnes and Wilkinson made the prefect team to create such a beast of an art project to celebrate Schlitterbahn’s 40th birthday.

Bahn Fans at the 40

We know you are enjoying the 40th sculpture at the original park! Here are a few of our favorite fan photos from Instagram:

Come visit Schlitterbahn New Braunfels and come snap a picture with this incredible art piece. Who knows, maybe you will be featured on the next #MuralMonday blog post. While you’re at it, make sure to take a ride on the Hillside Tube Chute to get the best view of the historic Schlitterbahn castle. See you at the park! #BahnLove