Communities around the world are showing their support for the more than 5.5 million people who have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February, according to an online tracking tool from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). ).
Two murals depicting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by local artists Erik Schlake and Roland Ruocco, respectively, stood outside the Arts Alliance in Fort Myers for just a few weeks before being repeatedly vandalized.
The murals, titled “Double Zalinski”, now have red and blue paint splattered on the Ukrainian president’s face.
Molly Deckart, director of the Alliance for the Arts, says hateful acts are prompting the arts center to make a bolder statement.
“Our collective stream of consciousness was that if you were going to loosely throw paint at two murals, then you can throw them at 20,” Deckart said.
The Alliance again reached out to the local arts community, commissioning 20 murals to be displayed at the festival site. The project is in part thanks to $10,000 in private donations that will compensate the artists for their time and provide materials for each of the 4 x 8 foot murals.
“We’re just going to harness that energy into something positive,” Deckart said. “You know, Fort Myers is too big for hate on every level. I just hope these 20 unique works of art that were made out of love, passion, and concern don’t get vandalized again.
The project will culminate in a major reveal event and community concert on Thursday, May 5 from 5-8 p.m. at the Arts Alliance, featuring music from local band Karibbean Grooves and a live mural that the community can add as the evening progresses.
Participating mural painters:
- Doug Stewart
- Danilo Rubias
- Collaboration with Union artist studios
- Allie Schlake
- lawless deb
- David Acevedo
- Julia DaRocha
- JP Almonacide
- Cloud Kent
- Israel Alpizar
- Eric Riemenschneider
- Erik Schlake
- Roland Ruocco
- Ian Summers
- Zan Lombard
- Deb Zwetsch
- Sanaa Bezzaz
- Underground Artsemble
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