Press: Years of painting the Folly Boat result in thick paint layer sagging off its side

 

 

Full article:  http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20120501/PC16/120509962

Years of painting the Folly Boat
result in thick paint layer sagging off its side

By Edward C. Fennell
efennell@postandcourier.com
Posted: Tuesday, May 1, 2012 12:34 a.m.

For more than 20 years, people have been painting messages on a boat that Hurricane Hugo left landlocked beside Folly Road.

But now, the roadside public billboard seems to be sending a message of its own: “Scrape the paint off me once in while, will ya?”

On Monday, Folly Beach city officials examined what appears to be a several-inches-thick, rubbery-like layer sagging off the entire side of the boat facing the road. Something like this also happened “seven or eight years ago,” when paint layers, accumulating year after year and one atop the other, became too heavy to cling to the boat, Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said.

Goodwin, who inspected the boat Monday with Public Works Department Director Kevin Whitsett, said city employees will be back today to pull the paint layer off. The layer will be sent to the Charleston County landfill, he said.

The boat has risen to iconic status since Hugo left it high and dry among oleander bushes and between Folly Road and a wide expanse of picturesque marsh.

Messages and art creations are painted on the boat’s side, sometimes daily and sometimes more than once daily. Messages have included birthday and wedding wishes, wedding proposals, divorce annoucements, requiems for lost or missing loved ones, announcements of coming events, support for sports teams, political appeals and just plain artsy creations.

The boat has a Facebook page, with more than 7,615 likes, and its own webpage, follyboat.com. Fans of the boat chat via Twitter, @follyboat, where the vessel is described as ”a South Carolina legend and landmark.”

The boat is depicted on the front cover of Frank Melvin Braden’s “The Humours of Folly.”

At Follyboat.com, a photo gallery illustrates some of the many inscriptions left on the boat. Stratton Lawrence provides a detailed “How to Paint the Folly Boat,” and in a blog, Folly Beach City Clerk Marlene Estridge says that when officials are asked for permission to paint the boat, “We just tell people to go ahead and do it.”

There’s no guarantee your message will be seen for long, she said.

“It’s first come, first serve,” Estridge wrote. “You might paint it and 45 minutes later someone else comes along.”

Paul Cheney, a local photographer who helped create the follyboat.com site, said Monday that boat supporters have been trying to come up with a way to raise funds to regularly clean and maintain the boat and its site.

“It’s an odd entity that needs to be protected and respected,” Cheney said.

He said no one at the website makes any money off the boat, but they all love the boat and its unique communicative abilities. “It’s nice to have an icon in the community.”

The Facebook page lets users swap comments and invites them to check out follyboat.com. At Facebook, a statement explains the website “was created so that painters and lovers of the folly boat can upload and share their memories of the landmark gifted by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 that greets each and every person as they travel to the Edge of America.”

Goodwin said that some seven or eight years ago the city carted off a thick layer of paint that began drooping off the boat, similar to, but not as expansive as the layer seen Monday.

“So many layers of paint, it looks like a solid wall of rubber. Sooner or later, it just gets so heavy it turns loose,” Goodwin said.

Goodwin pointed to a multi-colored area of asphalt between the boat and Folly Road, and said people are invited to paint the boat but are asked not to paint the road.

“It’s illegal and it’s not safe,” wrote Lawrence in his follyboat.com commentary.

Lawrence said Monday he has not yet seen the paint layer that’s sagging. In March of last year, he said, boat boosters gathered and did some cleanup at the site. The cleanup was aimed mostly at preventing spilled paints from washing into the marsh, and at the time there was no hint that the paint on the boat would begin falling off.

The boat offers everyone a one-of-a-kind opportunity for expression, he said.

“You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to get your tag on. If an image appears in your head, grab some paint, brushes, and a friend or two and head out to the Folly Boat. Just remember to take a picture before you drive away, because inspiration will likely strike someone else tomorrow,” Lawrence said.

How to Paint the Folly Boat

How to Paint the Folly Boat

by Stratton Lawrence
December 28, 2011
click for article

Happy sweet 16. Welcome home from Iraq. Come listen to my band at Snapper Jack’s. Whatever your message is, it’s probably been written on the so-called Folly Boat, located just past the Piggly Wiggly on Folly Road.

The Folly Boat arrived at its present land-locked location sometime during Hurricane Hugo, and after nobody stepped up to claim it, some creative soul noticed the advantageous angle of its hull to passing cars and covered it with art. It wasn’t long before someone else came along and added their own work of art.

These days, anyone is free to paint the boat, but there’s no guarantee that your effort won’t be erased the moment you drive away. “It’s first come, first serve,” says Folly Beach City Clerk Marlene Estridge. “You might paint it and 45 minutes later someone else comes along.”

Estridge says that the city doesn’t own the small strip of land along the causeway that supports Folly Road, and calls to Charleston County were inconclusive in determining a landowner. The County’s land map lists 41 different tax ID numbers on the mostly salt marsh parcel. “We just tell people to go ahead and do it,” Estridge says.

With the city’s help, we came up with three rules for painting the Folly Boat:

1. Park in the grass, well off of Folly Road. Get your car out of the right-of-way and you should be legal (and safe).

2. Take your paint cans with you when you leave. A half empty can of paint left in a salt marsh is worse than litter — it’s a direct attack on every oyster shucker in the Lowcountry.

3. Don’t paint the road. It’s illegal and it’s not safe.

Last February, a group of Folly Beach-based volunteers gathered for a clean-up day at the boat, shoveling and removing paint-stained sand from the surrounding salt marsh and disposing of it with the help of a city-provided truck.

After two decades of nearly daily paint jobs, there’s bound to be some spillage. That’s a small price to pay for the joy beachgoers and locals get when they drive by to discover a mural of dolphins or orcas, or a fond farewell to a fallen friend. There’s even a Facebook page (“Folly Boat”) with 7,440 “Likes” and a website where you can document your boat creation in perpetuity (follyboat.com).

You don’t have to wait for a special occasion to get your tag on. If an image appears in your head, grab some paint, brushes, and a friend or two and head out to the Folly Boat. Just remember to take a picture before you drive away, because inspiration will likely strike someone else tomorrow.