28 December 2009

15 Years of Discovery

Concept art is a tool used to visualize an area or attraction before the ground has even been broken. Within the process of creation, there is no better instrument to assist in envisioning the dream and seeing it through to completion. For Walt Disney World, there is no question in my mind that EPCOT Center had the most detailed, far-ranging, and largest set of concept art for any park at its opening.

Depending on when you saw the concept art, or for today’s collectors and admirers, what period you are looking at, EPCOT Center could have been a vastly different place. The Living Seas could have been in a much more angular pavilion and stashed across the park in Future World East. Almost all full park paintings included the much discussed African Pavilion in World Showcase. The possibilities were limitless, but the fine-tuning that was done over the years between dreaming the concept and building the prototype community led to an incredibly rich world in which to learn and play.

As part of the park’s celebration of its fifteen years of edutainment, during 1997 and 1998, Epcot made a cornucopia of exclusive celebration merchandise. As always, some of this merchandise was only available to Cast Members. Among these various Cast Member exclusives were a set of four commemorative photographs that numbered on 1,500 each. In all honesty, these were actually postcard-sized reproductions of concept art, matted with each pieces title, and mounted with a kickstand to hold them up. Each separate piece came in its own envelope and were completed with a description adhered to the back.

Let’s see what four pieces Epcot chose from its vast collection to represent its history and celebrate fifteen years of Discovery, and how Epcot saw each piece fifteen years on.

The American Adventure (1 of 4) – Housed in a classic Georgian-style brick building, The American Adventure brings to life the history of the United State through a complex combination of Audio-Animatronics, multimedia and elaborate sets.

Spaceship Earth (2 of 4) – Rising 180 feet high, Spaceship earth stands as a monument to human understanding. Inside the geodesic sphere is an attraction tracing the history of communication.

World Showcase (3 of 4) – World Showcase brings together an international community to promote a sense of fellowship and understanding through attractions, exhibits, entertainment and personal interaction.

Epcot (4 of 4) – A world of discovery surrounds Guests at Epcot, a showplace for technological innovation, environmental awareness, the mysteries of the mind and body, and the diversity of humanity.


Craig Wheeler said...

I'm a big fan of Herb Ryman concept art. Number two is a great example of his work.

I also like number four in that it was simply a painting of a model. For press materials, they were leaning more towards art than photographs of models, so they essentially did a still-life of their big scale model of the park.

The Artwork of Christi Bunn said...

Beautiful artwork. I always feel a warmth come over me when I look at these pieces. I loved seeing the EPCOT museum while it was open in 2008... seeing the artwork in large form on the walls of the museum was special for me. The postcard choices are very interesting.