The Gaines St. community will come together through art. From Feb. 7, through Feb. 28, the “I AM Gaines” mural will be painted. This was a collaboration with the Department of Arts Education, Opening Performing Arts, and the City of Tallahassee.
The “I AM Gaines St.” mural will feature stylized graphite images of youthful painters, rappers, dancers and musicians.
The rebuilding project of Tallahassee’s Gaines St. has brought a lot of attraction to the community.
Artists of the Florida State University Department of Arts Education are excited to begin a new mural that will add to the Downtown Tallahassee Gaines St. essence.
The big community effort to help design the art for the mural was lead by FSU graduate art therapy students Sharla Dyess and Evie Hempler and Sia Ngauja, a graduate assistant and art therapy student at Florida State University.
She said her vision for the cartoon-like images was to reflect the current and future Gaines St. renovation.
“They are still building things, it’s an exciting place and we want to fit it into the excitement and have confidence that the people around it will look at it and enjoy it,” Ngauja said.
The inspiration for the mural piece was decided based on the proximity of the mural to the community.
Christopher Heacox, the Opening Nights Performing Arts Director, initially wanted the mural to reflect the artistic values the community brings to the city.
“What we’re trying to do is create something that has historical and community reflection in the artwork,” Heacox said.
Gaines St. was recognized as a place that relishes in the arts — from the pop of bold colors on the painted merchant shops, to the eclectic style of services as the vintage clothing stores and skate shops that line the St..
Railroad Square has a popular art market in the city, and the building where the mural will be featured is located in front of the artistry scene.
To make sure that everyone was invested in the project, graduate students from art therapy, art administration and art education programs at FSU have scouted segments of the community to entice participation.
Organizers of the event are encouraging the community to participate because the engagement was needed to complete the mural piece.
Dave Gussak, chair of FSU Department of Arts Education, wants the community invest in the mural project to take the focus off the artist and onto the community.
“When the community joins in, paints it, [and] works on it, it becomes theirs and the community’s art,” Gussak said.
Gussak said the vision was to build a bridge between the community and the college organizers. The message was to capture the community’s environment that is all about the arts.
“It’s all about us being the arts and us being the community and us being the town, and it’s about showing the arts off in society and culture.” Gussak said
“I AM Gaines St.” mural wall is located at 651 W. Gaines St. and is 12 ft high and 75 ft wide. The mural will be open Feb. 9.