Artist Josette Urso, of New York City, was selected as Artist-in-Residence to direct the 2009 Community Mural Project, the kick-off event of The BIGDRAW-Ruskin. Born, raised and educated in Tampa, Josette was immediately attracted to the project, the very unusual round and flowing structure of the building, and to the opportunity to do a large scale collaborative work in her home state. She has an outstanding record of exhibitions, awards, grants, public projects, residencies and teaching, both in the U.S. and abroad. (http://josetteurso.com) .
The initial design process for the mural occurred through a series of fourteen hands-on workshops with Josette. Over 60 participants spanning age groups from children to retirees, complete novices to university students to adults from a variety of fields and backgrounds, worked with Josette in a variety of processes. Participants explored natural forms & objects, observation and direct experience in Collage, Landscape and Drawing & Painting workshopsfollowed by Design & Brainstorming sessions. Clients of Mary and Martha House met with Josette to contribute ieas and motifs to the project. All of the ideas and imagery for the mural were generated by the workshop participants. The Core Mural Team of dedicated community volunteers transferred and painted the design in an organic process over several months on the large, rounded and intricate canvas of the building.
“Seed to Bloom”, 20' x 750', is based on natural forms specific to the site and incorporates abstract language interlocked with recognizable forms. The imagery literally move across the two giant curved domes, completely covering the entire building. The mural is conceived to be optimistic and hopeful, expressing our common interconnectedness while also conveying an enthusiasm for life and all things living.
The mural was painted on the Mary & Martha House building, a distinctive architectural landmark in the historic center of Ruskin, FL. Mary & Martha House provides shelter and assistance to abused and homeless women and children.
The 2009 Community Mural Project was commissioned by the SouthShore Arts Council and funded by a generous grant from the John Crawford Fund of the Community Foundation of Greater Sun City Center, Florida. The Foundation also funded the Community Mural for THE BIG DRAW in 2008.
A very special thanks to everyone at Mary & Martha House for their support, generosity and collaboration in the project.
Check the Gallery page and the BIG DRAW blog for photos of the project. The Community Mural Artist-in-Residence project was initiated in 2008 with the enthusiatic participation of a community team as part of the first BIG DRAW-Ruskin. A description of that project is at Community Mural Project 2008 .