TAMPA, Fla. — The community surrounding a Tampa park joined together recently to add their own mark to a new sculpture in their midst delivering a much-needed one-word message: Hope.

What You Need To Know

  • Sculpture created by Tampa artist Junior Polo

  • Students, residents helped Polo paint the sculpture

  • Official reveal scheduled for July 6

"I feel happy, said University Area Community Development Corporation Artist Junior Polo. "I'm proud of it."

Students from University Area CDC's Prodigy cultural arts program and residents from Uptown and University area helped Polo paint the piece.

"I'm painting the base of it black," said 13-year-old Alyssa Goebert.

"My job is for the flowers over there," said the artist's 9-year-old daughter, Roselyn Polo. "I just want to help others have confidence in painting."

The artist says community participation is an important part of this project.

"We want people to own it," Polo explained. "They can be proud of it when they pass by, they can say, 'I have my hands on this.'"

Hands of all sizes helping to spread hope.

"It feels great because I think some people are really scared and not wanting to come out and I feel like this will give them hope," said Alyssa.

"Hope means like everything for me. I want to help the world," said Roselyn. "I want to help everybody near me."

With every stroke of every paint brush, that hope gets brighter shades of oranges and yellows and reds.

"Really bright colors, and they put, like, some energy," Polo said. "You feel that energy."

It's a feeling Polo hopes people will take with them long after leaving the park.

"They need a sign of hope, they need a sign to remind them that, 'yes, we are still living, we need to move forward."

People wrote messages of hope that were placed in the letter "O" of the sculpture, creating a time capsule.

The finished piece will be revealed July 6.