Chattanooga Now City Beat: Wayne-O-Rama, an explosion of creativity, taking shape [video]

Chattanooga Now City Beat: Wayne-O-Rama, an explosion of creativity, taking shape [video]

November 3rd, 2016 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Music

Staff photo by Tim Barber Wayne White constructs the facial skin of Civil War General Patrick Cleburne with corrugated cardboard midday Tuesday in the studio on Rossville Ave. The oversize puppets were part of Glass Street Live parade to commemorate the Centennial of the National Park Service. Work continues on new puppets and art pieces at Wayne-O-Rama on Rossvile Avenue.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

Inside Chattanooga's Fun House studio on Rossville Avenue, Chief Dragging Canoe lords over Lookout Mountain. He looks down from his lofty corner perch as the Incline Railway begins to take shape.

As you might expect, the mountain, which is the size of an Airstream, takes up most of the room, but Dragging Canoe has plenty of space. He needs it; his head is the size of a grown man and his outstretched arms look like, well, a couple of two-man canoes.

Barry Courter

Barry Courter

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

In one of the back rooms, a figure of local TV icon Bob Brandy is framed by a giant television. He's watching over a small party of famous Chattanoogans, including Emma Wheeler, a pioneering African-American caregiver who founded Walden Hospital here in 1915, and Adolph Ochs, publisher of The Chattanooga Times and later The New York Times.

A half dozen or so volunteers are busy cutting and fitting strips of cardboard to give the large puppets their shape. A couple more people are on ladders using rasps to shape the Styrofoam pieces that make up Lookout Mountain.

In one of the middle rooms, artist/writer/designer Wayne White is busy trying get a piece of cardboard into Luther Masingill's neck. White is the man behind this explosion of creativity and activity.

Explaining exactly what Wayne-O-Rama is all about is no easy task. Ask Bob Stagner. He's the project manager on the year-long collaboration that involves his organization, the Shaking Ray Levi Society, White, Hamilton County Schools and a host of local arts organizations.

Stagner and White, along with the late Dennis Palmer, conceived the original idea before Palmer's death in February 2013. Stagner has been pitching the idea to arts groups and potential sponsors for months.

"Trying to explain it to people, some of them just stared back at me, but now that people can see it, they're amazed," Stagner says.

That's because it is amazing. And big.

The volunteers, many of whom have come for the chance to work with White, have arrived from New York, Florida, Kansas and Chicago. Some stay a day and some a week or two, doing whatever task is needed. Carpentry, painting or hot-gluing cardboard. More volunteers are needed.

The smaller puppet heads, which are still pretty darn big, are mobile and will be used for parades and such. The larger pieces will stay in the space as backdrops for shows and events in the room.

Go by and check it out. They might even put you to work.

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Chattanooga Times Free Press Comments Policy

The Chattanooga Times Free Press web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Times Free Press web sites and any content on the Times Free Press web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Times Free Press, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Times Free Press websites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Chattanooga Times Free Press
400 East 11th Street
Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: 423-757-6315
Email: webeditor@timesfreepress.com