Painting a mural was always a goal of mine, but I never anticipated that I would wind up painting two back-to-back! Just how did I land myself in this spot?!
It all began in December 2018, when my father excitedly shared that a Call to Artists had been posted for the City of Oviedo. I was definitely interested, but upon further investigation, I saw that the call was for a mural at Round Lake Park. A mural?!? That seemed more than a little daunting. The aim was to portray the African-American History of Oviedo and the area that had to be painted was approximately 564 square feet! I mean sure, I was an artist, but the largest piece I'd created before then was 4 x 6 feet. I couldn't let this opportunity to create public art for my hometown pass me by though, so I decided to create and submit a design.
“There weren't many resources online that chronicled the Black History of Oviedo, so it was off to the Library to do some digging in the archives of local history.”
I checked out all the books I could find on the history of Oviedo, and began searching their pages for details about this long-established community. It was my hope that coupled with the information I'd found online, I would be able to glean enough information to create a visual tapestry that was emblematic of the struggles, successes, and soul of these Oviedoans.
The research was extremely illuminating to say the least. There still wasn't much in the way of many individuals, but I came to know more about the Boston families and their many contributions to agriculture, education, and so much more locally. I paid a visit to Boston Hill Cemetery which I literally did not know existed after having called Oviedo home for 14 years! I found out about Henry Jackson, for whom Jackson Heights Middle School is named, and I learned about a hometown MLB star, Hal King. These were just a few of my discoveries, and I highly recommend anybody interested in finding out more about the Black History of Oviedo check out the resources at the end of this post. I didn't have much, but I felt I now had enough to create a visually dynamic design that told the stories I had unearthed.
I looked for visual inspiration at similarly themed murals from around the US, and found the idea of constructing the narrative as a literal quilt of history to be visually captivating, as well as apropos to the subject matter. That was the framework and all the facts I had collected would be woven into this historical quilt of a mural. I submitted my design to the City of Oviedo on December 5, just two days before the deadline. There was no going back now, and I had to wait until January to hear the verdict. What would they say? What would they think? Would it be glaringly apparent that I was not a muralist? Either way, I had done all I could on my end, but little did I know that the new year would bring a whole lot more than I'd bargained for.
Resources for Black History of Oviedo
Around Oviedo by Jim Robison
Oviedo : Biography of a Town by Richard Adicks