Diversity Mosaic Mural in Orlando

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 was installed in September 2018, with about 300 hearts from students, regional community, and from all over the world!

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 sent to Orlando from all over the world, we received well over 1000! Volunteers have been gathering at Luna Mosaic Arts to prep and install the hearts onto the wall of Lamp Shade & Fair: 1336 North Mills Ave. Orlando, FL 32803. We dedicated the mural on September 21st, a date we set before we realized how huge this project would become, and therefore, how long it would take. It is HUGE! We are really pleased with the response we received, and with the amazing volunteer support in Orlando.

However, we have zero budget. The project has 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 there have been administrative costs, extra materials and supplies, scaffolding, and use of Luna Mosaic Arts for storing and prepping the mural. 

Luna Mosaic Arts is a nearby storefront that Cherie Bosela owns. It has a supply room in the front with mosaic materials/tools and a gallery. Most of the space is divided into sections that are rented by some of the best mosaic artists in Orlando, and they can be found working there on a regular basis. In the back is a teaching space, and Cherie has visiting artists coming every couple of weeks to teach there. When I visited in September, it became clear to me how this mural project has impacted Cherie's business. 700 hearts had already been installed, yet there were piles of hearts in various stages of prepping all over, piles of packing material and boxes, and more packages arriving daily. Cherie had just been granted a very large commission, and she needs to get started on it, so she's really going to need her space back. 

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

We are in the home stretch! It's going to be amazing! ~Jennifer
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Jennifer Kuhns 
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