Downtown Kissimmee just got a little brighter with new mural initiative

The mural called “The Wild Ones” painted by Steven Teller can be found at 120 Monument Ave. in downtown Kissimmee.

Let’s paint the town red...and blue and orange and green and purple.

Colorful murals now adorn four building facades in downtown Kissimmee. Part of the ARTisNOW initiative at Osceola Arts, the project has been in the making for a year.

“The idea was to bring mural art to the downtown to liven up and engage the community,” said Marylin Cortes-Lovato, Osceola Arts Director of Visual Arts. “Murals can create a sense of space and identity They’re also an important part of revitalization.”

Cortes-Lovato worked closely with Kissimmee Main Street to identify building owners who wanted to participate and to secure the necessary True Work of Art permits at the city.

Each artist received a $1,000 stipend and was given a week to complete their pieces. Concepts and colors were reviewed by the city and the business owners. Funding was provided by the city and Experience Kissimmee, the tourism authority for Osceola County.

“We wanted to give the mural artist a certain amount of artistic freedom,” Cortes-Lovato said.

Modern interpretations of historical themes, “these contemporary images embrace what we’re about in Kissimmee and highlight the community,” she said.

The biggest restriction was that the artwork could not be political or connected to the businesses like the two previously existing murals on Makinson Hardware and Lanier’s Historic Downtown Marketplace that highlight the store’s wares.

“It’s fantastic. I can’t think of a better way to utilize an empty lot or wall,” said Jeremy Lanier, co-owner and operator Lanier’s marketplace.

Considering the Kissimmee Art Festival has been put on hold for three years, “this brings the arts back to the downtown in a way,” said Lanier, also a member of the Kissimmee Main Street board.

It’s the city’s second foray into public art after creating the Sculpture Experience program 13 years ago, which places huge sculptures in outdoor locations throughout the downtown area.

The murals will be up for at least a year and can remain after that at the discretion of the building owners.

“We’ve already got other owners who want to participate next year. The idea is to expand this throughout the county,” Cortes-Lovato said. “This is a domino effect. People connect to imagery and want to see more.”

Here’s where you can find the murals.

• 120 Broadway: “The Wild Ones” painted by Steven Teller.

• 421 Broadway: Kissimmee Main Street, “Lake Toho Sunset” painted by Willie Soto.  

• 16 Broadway: Main Street Pizza, “Iron Horse- Unbridled Future” painted by Christian Stanley.

• 8 Broadway: Hansen/Walter Building, “Burrowing Owl or Cosmic Owl” painted by German Lemus.