Diversity Mosaic Mural in Orlando

$4,488 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 67 people in 6 months
After the Pulse Nightclub Shooting, I felt devastated, and without the words to express the grief and solidarity I felt for victims, families, and the LGBTQ community. I had the idea to create a community mural where people made hearts in monochromatic colors installed to compose a big rainbow. I designed it so that there is a silhouetted figure blowing kisses, and the kisses are hearts. I work with at-risk teens every week at an alternative high school, so we started the project in January 2017. That first version of the mural will be installed this spring in Shelton, WA and will include hearts made not only by my students and local community, but people around the U.S. and the world sent us hearts! 

I learned how Pulse Nightclub is being turned into a memorial to honor the victims of the shooting. I thought: "The mural should be in Orlando!" So, I connected with Cherie Bosela, a talented mosaic artist and owner of Luna Mosaic Arts, only about 15 minutes from the nightclub site. We had met previously through the Society of American Mosaic Artists. She was enthusiastic about the project, so we decided to launch another version of the mural, asking experienced mosaic artists to contribute because we want the hearts to be made well.

Hearts have been arriving in Orlando from all over the world, and as of this update (Aug. 30) we have 847! Volunteers have been gathering at Luna Mosaic Arts to prep the hearts for installation, which will take place in early Sept. There will be a public dedication at the wall: 1336 North Mills Ave. Orlando, FL 32803 on September 21st. And the mural will continue to grow beyond that date as more hearts arrive.

However, we have zero budget. The project will not cost much because all of the artists are contributing materials and labor for the hearts themselves. And Laticrete is donating thinset and grout with specialty tints in corresponding colors! But we'll need to rent scaffolding or a lift, pay for permits, cover some administrative/promotional fees, and buy me a plane ticket to fly to Florida. We have decided to ask for a bit more than we think we'll need because we will be donating anything we don't spend on the mural to The Center Orlando, a gathering space for the LGBTQIA community. So, we are actually hoping to exceed our goal and end up with both a mural AND a charitable contribution from this fundraiser.

Even small donations will go a long way toward reaching our goal. Every little bit helps. Please share this and help spread the word. For more information about the project and to see all of the hearts and to watch the installation process, go to:  https://www.facebook.com/DiversityMuralOrlando
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On Friday, Cherie and I had breakfast with some of the volunteers who helped with the mural, then we all walked over to the mural site for the dedication. We found a nice-sized group gathered, including Patty Sheehan, the neighborhood Commissioner. Vivian Rodriguez was present, the Outreach Director for Congressman Darren Soto. There were a couple of young reporters for an LGBTQIA newspaper. And lots of volunteers! Cherie says that about 30 people have helped with the mural installation, and while it has been a lot of work, it was made much easier by many hands. The mural is about 70% installed, and the remaining hearts will connect to the figure on one side, and will spread out and up on the other side. To put it into scale, the remaining hearts are about as many as went into the original version of the mural in Shelton (around 300.) The mural is far bigger than we ever expected, and it continues to grow, so we'll be keeping the fundraiser going until the mural is completed. Thanks again for all of the support!
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Dear Diversity Mural Supporters, I have just finished packing, and I'll be staying at a hotel in Seatac tonight so that I can get a 5a.m. shuttle to the airport tomorrow morning. I'll be flying just about as far in the the continental U.S. as I possibly could, and I'll be in Orlando by 5p.m. Sometimes I still think this was a totally insane idea, coordinating an international community mural project with another artist, and in a location, so very far away! But I'm glad I am crazy like this, because Cherie and everyone who made hearts and helped with the prep and installation and all of you who have helped financially actually pulled it off! 23 feet of mural have been installed and it looks really amazing. We will be dedicating it on Friday as it is, but with a plan to continue accepting hearts through the month, and Cherie will continue the installation later in the year. We are so close to 1000 hearts that we've made it a new goal. This project turned out so much bigger than we anticipated, but that is a testament to how many people in the world want to share in this message of inclusivity and solidarity.

Sorry for the long ramble...I'm just so happy to be heading off to Orlando to connect personally with Cherie and the volunteers there, and to be able to see and touch the mural in person. If any of you are in that area, please join us on Friday at 10am at Lamp Shade Fair in Orlando. If you have connections there, please share the info. And yes, we got this far, but we are still short of the fundraising goal. It would really be great to meet, or even exceed it.

Thank you! We'll be posting lots and lots of photos online later this week!
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Have you seen that Cherie and two volunteers have started the installation process in Orlando?! Soon, even more volunteers will be joining in, and the 850 hearts we currently have will be up in no time! (Grouting between them may be another story...we'll see how quickly that goes.) This mural is going to be so lovely!
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I spent yesterday at Choice High School where I have been installing the first version of this mural project. As you can see in the photo, most of the hearts are grouted, but there are still some unfinished areas. My friend Reuben and I finished the purple and blue hearts yesterday, leaving the red and orange to be finished - the highest points, where I'll have to raise the scaffold to the highest level and stand on my toes sometimes, which is a bit scary! As I've been completing this install, I've been sending notes to Cherie, mainly the lessons I learned and what I would do differently. I think the process for the Orlando mural will go much more smoothly and quickly, and Cherie has a whole posse of volunteers helping, which is great! They have been repairing, pre-grouting and cleaning over 800 hearts and will start installing next week. Be sure to check the facebook page to see all of the hearts and snapshots of grouting parties: https://www.facebook.com/DiversityMuralOrlando/

We still are still working to meet our fundraising goal, and we would love for you to share the link to your feed. Neither of us is great at marketing or asking for money, so feel free to suggest contacts and methods we might not have thought of! Thank you!
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$4,488 of $5,000 goal

Raised by 67 people in 6 months
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