LECANTO — One hundred thousand Post-It Notes lined up end-to-end would form a line longer than the Gandy Bridge. Now, the same number of those sticky, colorful squares cover a huge billboard in New York's Grand Central Terminal.
Today, as part of Post-It Note's 30th anniversary celebration, 3M will unveil the behemoth installation, designed by two Citrus County students and built by a New York artist with 100,000 of the neon squares.
Lecanto School of Art rising seniors Ysanne Taylor, 16, of Hernando and Allison Hilgert, 17, of Crystal River submitted a design after 3M put out the contest in April based on the theme, "In 30 Years I Will."
"I thought, 'Okay, this will certainly be interesting. We've never quite made anything like this before,' " Taylor said Monday.
Taylor and Hilgert, who won $2,500 each and traveled to New York to attend the unveiling, said their design came from the knowledge that today's world is not their own.
"The generation before us created the world we're in now," Taylor said. "In the next 30 years, we don't know where we'll be, but it will be a world we created."
The billboard, which will be in place through Friday, shows a woman, whom the girls call "Mother Creativity," creating cities, wildlife and people from her outstretched finger.
"Our creativity will form our world," Hilgert sad. "So we expressed that through our medium."
That medium being Post-It Notes.
The artist who created the billboard has fitting credentials for the world's largest Post-It Note installation: Eric Daigh, a New York conceptual artist, holds the Guinness World Records title for "Largest Pushpin Mosaic."
The teens' creative process began when a family friend told Taylor about the contest. Taylor invited her best friend, Hilgert, and they began to plan.
They spent weeks discussing concepts, sketching ideas and examining materials — hundreds of Post-It Notes provided for free by 3M — before launching into their creation.
Early one May morning, Polly Fladmark-Hilgert, Allison's mother and an artist herself, found the floor of her Crystal River studio covered in Post-It Notes of all shapes, sizes and color.
"We were ripping and cutting and shaping, layering and building it up," Hilgert said. "A lot of it was experimentation."
The project's problems came from the Post-It Notes themselves, Taylor said.
"The colors were very bright, very fluorescent, and that can work against you," Taylor said. "We had to figure out how to make that work for us."
The other challenge? The adhesive, the part of Post-It Notes 3M has recently advertised with Super Sticky Notes, the brand's newest super-sticky product.
Taylor said the mural could be created using only the Post-It Note adhesive. No tape, no glue.
But after a day in the studio, the girls had a 3- by 5-foot poster rolled into a tube, ready to ship to 3M. The call came a month later.
Hilgert was helping her mother paint a room when her phone rang. Theirs was the winning entry.
"Oh, my gosh, this is insane, this is so crazy!" she kept saying.
Then she called Taylor.
Taylor had ignored a call to her own phone because she thought the caller was a telemarketer.
When not with the 3M creative team or the media in New York, the girls have been out on their own. They've spent most of their time wandering the streets of New York, eating food and visiting "lots of art museums."
Laura J. Nelson can be reached at (352) 848-1432 or email@example.com.