Thursday, October 27, 2016

49, 53 and Beyond Children's Mural.

Michael Pilato a mural artist from Philadelphia has come to Orlando to create a series of murals dedicated to the 49, 53 and beyond who were directly affected by the tragic shooting at Pulse nightclub. He has moved into the empty apartment above Tony's pizzeria on the corner of Mills and Colonial. This run down apartment was formerly known as "The Space" and has been the location for quite a few cutting edge exhibits and performances. Volunteers have been working tirelessly to make the space livable. New floors are being put in, along with a new sink and cabinets. Piles of scrap wood were piled in the hall, waiting to be taken to the dump. There was no air conditioning and some window panes were broken and missing. Michael was bitten by mosquitoes on his first night in the space.  The groundwork for this artist studio is a true labor of love.

Long narrow staircases lead up to the space. Chimene Pindar Hurst came up with the idea of having home school students create a mural on the walls of the front stairwell. Susan Gromala Crary has done murals on Disney property and she stepped in to spearhead the project. Day one had the children sketching and writing ideas on paper. The kids wanted to sling paint from the start, but Susan assured them that they needed a unified plan before paint touched the walls.  They circled up to share ideas and chat while they worked. The moms sat on the opposite end of the room, also chatting. Susan took all the sheets of paper home to her studio to create a unified concept that incorporated all the separate ideas.

When the kids were finished, Susan sat with them and enthusiastically let them know which ideas inspired her the most.  She collected all the sketches and notes and the conversation she had with the kids gave her a definite idea of how to proceed. Words are very important to these kids because of texting and the internet. Therefor words of love and inspiration would weave themselves in to the visual tapestry of the mural. The plan was to have the kids come in weekly to get the mural painted.

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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