LAKELAND, Fla. — Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment Agency hopes murals will lure people to the area.
- Lakeland Community Redevelopment Agency funding murals
- City hopes to attract people with murals
- Students from Rochelle School of the Arts helped with murals
From downtown to Dixieland, to Midtown, murals are popping up all over Lakeland.
Children’s book illustrator Ahmad Taylor worked on the mural on main street at Boring Business Systems, Inc. It represents the loggia at Lake Mirror which is just down the road. .
“We have airplanes representing Sun ‘n’ Fun. We have swans which if you know Lakeland, that’s what they’re known for,” said Ahmad Taylor, who often goes by A. H. Taylor or the Atlanta Illustrator.
Taylor lives in Atlanta but grew up in Lakeland. It’s one of the reasons Boring’s selection committee chose him to do the work. The company’s Chief Financial Officer got emotional just talking about it.
“It’s nice to have somebody who is really from Lakeland who has ties here and understands the city do a drawing. It’s nice to see somebody that you saw as a youngster do so well,” said Carol Catanzarite, CFO Boring Business Systems Inc.
Her sons and Taylor played soccer together in high school.
Taylor got the help of students from Rochelle School of the Arts to work on the project with him.
“I’ve learned about painting with other people and having all of our styles come into one style,” said Kathryn Yaksich, one of the eighth grade students chosen to help paint the mural.
Taylor attended Rochelle School of the Arts and his education there inspired him to become an artist.
“That’s the middle school that kind of made me who I am. That kind of raised me in creativity and it’s a way for me to give back to the students,” Taylor explained.
Lakeland’s Community Redevelopment Agency sponsored the murals project. It paid three artists $5,000 to paint three murals. Tim Haas painted the mural at Southside Cleaners and Gabriela Jaxon painted the mural outside Thom Downs Antiques.
“This is a mostly commercial investment . We hope to see more art in residential areas and neighborhoods and parks so we’re looking into the future to see how we can do that,” said Valerie Ferrell, the Community Redevelopment Agency Project Manager.
The agency hopes the murals will attract people to Lakeland neighborhoods and businesses they’ve never visited before.
Related to art, the agency has also funded an art walk along Lake Parker, which will be painted by students. Work is expected to begin on that project in the fall, and more details are expected to be released soon.