THERE IS SOMETHING TRULY MAGICAL ABOUT HISTORIC BUILDINGS. IT MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT THE PEOPLE WHOSE LIVES WERE LIVED INSIDE THE WALLS ALMOST ONE HUNDRED YEARS AGO. LIKE STEPPING BACK IN TIME. SO HOW DO YOU HONOR HISTORY? BY PROTECTING AND PRESERVING IT TO THE BEST OF YOUR ABILITY AND THAT’S WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE BUILDING RESTORATION PROJECT OF VANTAGE HEALTH PLAN IN DOWNTOWN MONROE. ALL THE PLASTERWORK IN THE OLD VIRGINIA HOTEL/STATE OFFICE BUILDING HAS BEEN PAINSTAKINGLY RESTORED SO THE UNIQUE HISTORIC FABRIC OF THE BUILDING IS PRESERVED. NOW THE PLASTER IS BEING REPAINTED TO BRING IT BACK TO LIFE. LIGHT, SPACE, AIR, AND ARCHITECTURE DETERMINES HOW MOTHER AND DAUGHTER ARTISTS MARCIA NEALY AND SHELLY EDGERTON MAKE THE PAINT DEFINE THE OVERALL HISTORIC CHARACTER OF THE BUILDING. “We have discovered the most beautiful intricate patterns. Every detail is different and there’s so many different pieces. It’s just amazing to be able to paint each piece and see the detail from the wings to the draped cloth to the chalice in the hand that we’ve been privileged to see because we’re right on top of it. So we’ve tried really hard to paint it so all of those details would show up and not be lost.” NEALY HAD CONSIDERED RETIRING, BUT THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON THIS BUILDING CHANGED HER MIND. “I was thinking about retiring, but I couldn’t say no to this! It’s just too amazing!” DAUGHTER SHELLY AGREES. “When I walked in this building, the first thing I thought, the first words that came to my mind was Taj Mahal! My mouth, jaw, dropped to the floor and I could not believe that we are about to undertake this but it has really been so enjoyable!” I love working with my mom and we have really good relationships so we just get up and get to working and kind of get into our artists’ zone together and, you know, just listen to music and visit, and just enjoy what we do. I think no matter what it is, if you enjoy what you do, then you’re gonna be good at it. THE WOMEN USE SPECIAL PIGMENTS TO HIGHLIGHT THE FRESCOS WHICH BRINGS OUT THE DELICATE DESIGNS IN THE PLASTER. THE PAINT HAS REAL GOLD FLAKES AND MICA POWDERS TO RESEMBLE PAINTING WITH GOLD LEAF. THEY BOTH SAY IT’S A LABOR OF LOVE. “Well, we’re thrilled, my husband asked me, ‘Are you tired?’ and I said no. I get up and look forward to it every morning because it’s so unique and we’re really lucky to be a part of it.” “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to be here and to have my children get to see what their Mommy does on a 20 foot scissor-lift scaffolding. It is quite an opportunity and I’m very blessed to be here.” IF THE WALLS ONCE COULD TALK IN THE OLD VIRGINIA HOTEL/STATE OFFICE BUILDING, IT’S A GOOD BET THEY ARE GETTING THEIR VOICE BACK AS THE RESTORATION WORK NEARS COMPLETION. AND THIS IS ONE WAY VANTAGE HEALTH PLAN IS HONORING OUR HISTORY IN DOWNTOWN MONROE.