FSU Splashes Color during ‘Seven Opening Nights’

Florida State University’s Department of Art Education, in collaboration with the Seven Days of Opening Nights and the City of Tallahassee, recently splashed a little color on Gaines Street with a mural celebrating the arts.

The mural was the idea of Steve MacQueen, director of “Seven Days of Opening Nights.”

MacQueen approached Dave Gussak, chair of Florida State University’s Department of Art Education, with the idea last April.Together, they explored Tallahassee looking for the perfect location before settling on a building close to the intersection of Railroad and Gaines Streets.

“The intention of this project was to create a piece that would be a bridge between all of us while simultaneously celebrating the incredible arts that emerged from this city,” said Gussak at the official reveal of the mural onFeb. 22.

FSU President Eric Barron and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks attended, along with faculty and students from Florida A&M, FSU and the local community. Matthew Paltoo, 31, president of the National Art Education Association, volunteered to assist with the painting of the mural.

“The mural is community-based,” said Paltoo. “Anyone could help.”

Marks spoke about keeping Gaines Street as a hub of creativity, its current revitalization and what the mural brings to the street.

“This mural is about more than a work of art,” said Marks. “It represents all that is good about Tallahassee: our appreciation of the arts, our vision of Gaines Street as a community gathering place and our success at working together with our local universities and students to make a meaningful difference.”

Jaclyn Mosing, 24, a FSU Art Therapy graduate student from Lafayette, La., designed and chose the color scheme for the mural.

“When this project started, it was really my baby,” Mosing said. “Dave and Steve came to our department and said we need a sketch and we need your help. I ran with it, but something really beautiful and magical happened along the way. Something that was mine suddenly became ours. It’s part of the community now.”

The panoramic mural centers around a musician with notes flying out of his saxophone; below it, the comedy/tragedy mask; to the center right is a female singer holding a microphone and a guitar player. Spanning the bottom of the mural is a film reel, with dancers to its right.

“I can’t stress that enough the emphasis on how important the arts are,” said Mosing. “Not only to show beauty in places where there needs to be beauty like this revitalization project, but also bringing the community members together.”