Monday, April 24, 2017

Orlando Traveling Mural Meeting.

The Orlando Traveling Mural meeting was held on the second floor at Sam Flax. Colleen Ardaman moderated. I arrived a bit late and the meeting was well underway. Several news stations were there along with survivors, and family of victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. Some of the painting s of victims were hung on the wall behind a panel of people involved in the project. The fact that this mural will help memorialize the people lost was stresses by Mayra, the mother of Amanda Alvear who was tragically shot that evening of June 12. Colleen mistook the portrait above Mayra's head for Amanda, but it was Amanda's best friend Mercedes who also died that night. Amanda may have been able to escape that evening but she went back for her friend according to Amanda's brother.

Much of the meeting was an opportunity to express the good will surrounding the project. People directly affected by the tragedy will be adding hand prints to the panels to allow everyone to contribute as a community. Coleen handed out sea shells to everyone in the room. She explained that the shell was a reminder of the living being that once inhabited it. The mural would act as a similar reminder.

The survivors sat in front of me at the meeting. A female newscaster crawled close to them so she could hear their names. I write the names down and hope to meet each someday. India Cedeno, a Pulse shooting survivor, said she also survived 9/11 in NYC. She began to recount how she and her son had escaped the club that night. As she spoke, she got choked up. Christopher Hanson another shooting survivor comforted her. As she recovered she explained that she was overwhelmed by the love in the room. I still don't know if art can heal, the talk rings shallow to me, but it is bringing people together which in itself opens doors and breaks down isolating barriers.

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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