Not only is Orlando about as far away geographically as you can get from Seattle in the continental US, its also very different culturally. I say this having spent a considerable amount of time in Mickey’s backyard visiting Renee’s parents on many trips over the past 16 years.
“Artsy” is not a word I would typically use to describe Orlando – but today when I was out for a run along the Seminole County Trail, I was pleasantly surprised when I observed a number of paintings and murals that ran the length of a privacy fence that lined the trail. It was so off-beat and cool I had to do a double-take. Was I really seeing this in Longwood? The paintings ranged from Betty Boop to Wonder Woman and Ghostbusters to Prefontaine. I didn’t count but there are easily more than 50 paintings you can observe on both sides of the trail. There is even a chalkboard in the middle with a sign encouraging others to write a message or leave their own art – with a bucket full of chalk and wet rags provided. I noticed a sign on the end, it said “Like Paint the Trail on Facebook.” I made note to do just that as I snapped a few photos of some of my favorites to share with others. I just absolutely loved what appeared to me to be a spontaneous work of art that obviously grew beyond original expectations.
“I put a couple of paintings up on my mom and dads fence that faces the bike trail as sort of a joke. I hadn’t planned on hanging any more of them. My mom kept telling me stories of how people passing by would comment and compliment them. I painted a couple more, and hung them. It seemed as though my parents were getting a kick out of it. I would paint more, and hang them as it was getting dark outside. I thought for sure I’d get caught and get yelled at, or at least threatened to have the county called on me. I’m still not sure if what I’m doing is against some kind of code. The more paintings I hung, the more stories of compliments I heard from my parents. This fence painting stuff has spiraled out of control now. LOL! I’ll be painting the entire length of their privacy fence now. My parent’s neighbor wants me to paint on his fence now. That’s a lot of paintings. I hope to get some good suggestions from the people who walk and ride the trail. The past few times I’ve been out there putting up something new, people stop and chat with me. Everyone has been very nice, and I really appreciate all the compliments : ) I’m only planning on keeping this Facebook
account until I’m finished painting the fence, or fences. Maybe I’ll paint the fences all the way to Lake Mary Blvd. HA!! How far’s that again?”
The photos I took and those that are shared on Facebook and the website really don’t do the project justice – it needs to be seen in person to be truly appreciated.
This is the kind of movement I hope picks up steam in other parts of the country – including Seattle. It would be great to see similar works of art pop up along the Burke-Gillman or Interurban Trails in the area. I am a big believer in art and what it brings to our lives – and I say kudos firstname.lastname@example.org for his imagination and work here!