Friday, November 30, 2012

Art Reach Orlando

At Urban ReThink, Brendan O'Connor started telling me about several mural projects he is helping spearhead.  He spoke excitedly about a mosaic mural that was in the planning stages in Apopka. Migrant workers were being asked to contribute items that came with them when they moved to Florida. QR codes and micro chips might also be embedded in the mosaic so that anyone with a smart phone could scan the mural and listen to interviews and history behind the items. He then invited me to Corner Lake Middle School in Bithlo the next day to sketch the beginning stages of a mural being started there. Christie Miga is the artist in residence who created the mural image.

When I arrived, the hallway was crowded with kids. Two young girls were tracing lines on an image projected on the wall.  The rest of the kids were sitting in the hall doing their homework or playing tag. Brendan O'Connor quickly introduced me to everyone. Brendan and Sarah Zimmer work for Art Reach Orlando as project managers. Marsha Selby is a teacher from the school. She's a science teacher that does art on the side in her own free time since the school doesn't offer it. Unfortunately the traffic on Colonial Drive got me to the school about half an hour late. All the kids were packing up to get back home.

I decided to try and get a sketch anyway. Do to a minor glitch, Christie needed to readjust the image.  Those adjustments gave me time to finish my sketch. Sarah and Brendan helped her make all the adjustments.  The work went quickly now that the hall was quiet. I remember similar adjustments had to be made the first day I had students help me with the Mennello Museum Mural. I asked them to cover the wall with pencil grid lines every foot. I went inside the museum to sketch several people for the mural. When I came back out, I  found the grid started out good but then the grid lines arched upward by the time they got to the other end of the wall.

Christie Miga's mural image was developed in Illustrator on the computer. She explained that they were just projecting the background elements today. Later other elements will be layered on top. The image to start had large arching shapes that looked like hillsides. Time will tell what the final image looks like. Christie wanted to keep the image simple to start.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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