Twelve people are selected each year to present their creative talents at the Artistry Demos. Pictured are the 2008 artists.
JOE NASVIK Twelve people are selected each year to present their creative talents at the Artistry Demos. Pictured are the 2008 artists.

For the seventh year, Concrete Construction magazine and the Decorative Concrete Council (DCC), a council of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC), St. Louis, is sponsoring the Artistry in Decorative Concrete demonstrations (Artistry Demos) at the World of Concrete (WOC) in Las Vegas. The Artistry Demos are the centerpiece of the Outdoor Exhibits and Events Area, located in front of the South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition to the artists' contributions, a growing list of volunteers help each year to set up the area, including forming and casting the concrete pads.

The artists

The purpose of the demonstrations is to promote greater use of decorative concrete. Creativity on the part of the installer is central to this industry, so each year we provide an area at WOC to showcase that imagination. This year, 12 new presenters will demonstrate their skills and ideas over a range of decorative possibilities.

All forms of decorative concrete applications were featured at last year's WOC Artistry Demos.
All forms of decorative concrete applications were featured at last year's WOC Artistry Demos.

Using glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) one presenter will build a rock and waterfall exhibit. Some people think that GFRC produces the most realistic rockwork of all methods, but you can decide for yourself after you see the artist at work. Two demonstrations will focus on countertop construction: one using GFRC to mold a large sink and one using more conventional methods to build a cast-in-place countertop. In addition to horizontal overlay work, a presenter from northern Minnesota will use a “breakaway concrete” method to create a vertical old stone reveal and a base-relief handcarved garden statue.

You also will see a diamond-polished floor slab with handseeded recycled glass that produces a patterned look. Pervious concrete—which gets a lot of attention these days—will be used to construct a walking bridge with a pool underneath. Be on the lookout for the latest in decorative garage floor work as well. The Artistry Demos provide WOC attendees the opportunity to get close to the presenters and you are encouraged to ask questions, share ideas about what you are doing, chat about tools and what works best, discuss projects, and talk shop.

Past years

Some of the demonstrations illustrate new directions that decorative concrete work is headed. For instance, during the past few years, we followed stenciled decorative treatments as they increased in popularity. The diamond polishing of warehouse floors moved into the decorative realm and the Artistry Demos revealed the beauty of these finishes. Water-based stains also have become popular recently and the demonstrations showed off the inventiveness of decorative contractors. You even saw masonry unit vertical overlay demonstrations done by some of the first contractors involved in that type of work.

When you visit WOC, you will notice that some manufacturers of decorative products have booths inside the show buildings, as well as outside to feature live demonstrations—showing you what their products can do and demonstrating the installation process. Manufacturer demonstrations are different from the Artistry Demos. The presenters for the Artistry Demos are contractors from around the country who are noted for their creative work using materials and products from a wide range of manufacturers. They also tend to use a variety of state-of-the-art tools. Manufacturers' booths typically use their own staff to teach their process and product capabilities.

Support from sponsors

The Artistry Demos are made possible by manufacturers of decorative products in the hope you will be inspired to be more creative with your own work and to help promote the entire decorative industry. Each sponsor has a table along the perimeter of the Artistry in Decorative Concrete area with employees available to discuss ideas with you. The DCC will have an Ask the Expert booth staffed with experts in different decorative techniques. Plan to bring your questions or discuss installation problems you've experienced.