On May 18th, we began creating a new mural at the UF/IFAS Wakulla County Extension Center in Crawfordville, Florida (near Tallahassee). Around this same time last year we had been painting a large outdoor mural in their courtyard, completed in June. This year we had the opportunity to do another mural of a smaller scale, this time indoors.
The organizer and originator of our previous mural, Mrs. Sherry Balchuck of the Wakulla County Extension Office, reached out to us and inquired if we would like to do a new mural inside their “Official Meeting Room” (O.M.R). As it’s name implies, this room is used for meetings/gatherings as well as educational programs for youth.
Avery: The greatest challenge for me as an artist is deciding when my work is finished, so you can imagine a mural is quite daunting for me to work on. When working with such a big canvas you can become lost in perfecting the little details. But the most important part of a mural or any artwork, is delivering a message, or an idea to those whom look upon it. This mural showcases the beauty of the State of Florida. And I hope this mural reminds people just how much diversity in wildlife we have here in this State. It makes you look at the whole, and not just the little details.
This mural would have a unique design that would separate it from it’s outdoor sibling. The shape of Wakulla county itself is the center piece, and found within, you can see a lush forest of trees and an abundance of animals. Outside of its shape can be found the freshwater marine life living here in Florida. In bold, “OUTDOOR WAKULLA LIVING” is written at the top. With the acronym being; “O.W.L”. Getting outside and enjoying the great outdoors is really what this mural is about.
Kai: It was a great honor to come back and do this second mural, and I feel like in many ways it is even better than the first – we learned a lot from doing our previous mural, so this time around, we were able to add a richer depth and meaning. “Outdoor Wakulla Living” for me, means that we can each take a moment to step outside and truly grasp what we already have; Animals, birds, trees, and all the other magical things of Mother Nature that have been living their lives among us whether we’ve paid attention or not. I hope our O.W.L mural inspires people to go experience nature in such a way that it brings back a genuine curiosity, empathy, and love for it.
We wanted this mural to convey the beauty of Wakulla County, and Florida as a whole. Showcasing the diverse Flora and Fauna found within. The list below is of all the plants, animals, and insects included.
This mural took a little more than two weeks to paint. A preparatory sketch of the county was done on our first day. And from May 19th to June 2nd, we painted everyday. This one was completed much faster then our previous mural, but the amount of detail in this one is much grander. We thank Mrs. Sherry Balchuck for the opportunity to do this mural, and getting the supplies we needed to accomplish it.
Arianna: I really feel this mural ended up with a lot of depth and character. I think that’s what I like so much about this one, the way it represents nature in its raw and real form. When painting the trees, I tried to give each and every one of them a unique feel, complete with their knots, gnarly trunks and woodpecker holes. I like how the animals are moving about their habitat, like they truly would in the wilderness. It’s a scene of beauty, but the kind that is natural, free and allowed to be itself. That’s what I really love about the mural, and I hope others can enjoy that aspect of it as well.
Painting a mural is hard work, and for us, it’s a team effort. The three of us have to play to our strengths to make it the best we can. We hope that both the O.W.L mural, and its outdoor sibling, have brought a new feeling and atmosphere to the Extension Office. And we hope that, through art, we’ve created a stronger community.