The “living art mural” in downtown Ocala at the Brick City Center for the Arts has been completed.
Miami-based artist Ernesto Maranie started working on the mural in May. It is located on the west-facing wall of the facility, located at 23 S.E. Broadway. The project was commissioned by the Cultural Arts and Sciences Division through public-private funding and is a collaboration between Maranje, artist and fabricator Mike Zeak and horticulturalist Suzanne Shuffitt.
The concept for the mural is a unique blend of street art, incorporating horticulture into the design. The mural makes use of attached, custom-fabricated plant trellises that house carefully curated plants and plant materials. The selection of plants installed for the final phase of the mural will grow and change throughout the seasons, attributing to the project’s significance as a “living” art mural.
“This piece will add to our continually growing public art collection,” said Laura Walker, Cultural Arts and Sciences Division head for the City of Ocala, “adding another innovative, collaborative piece for our community to enjoy.”
Maranje has painted murals at home and abroad, including Ukraine, Iraq, the Kingdom of Jordan, Lebanon, Greece and Spain. He discovered his passion for art while in the Coast Guard and uses his vivid imagination to portray the unity of animals and plants by pulling different segments from each and making it a cohesive whole. Not only is the result pleasing to the eye, it reminds the viewer of our connection with nature.
The City of Ocala offers many visual and performing art opportunities in city spaces. Public art is complimentary and is intended for everyone to enjoy. Detailed information about current programming and future projects can be found at www.ocalafl.org/culturalarts. Self-guided public art tours are available at Ocala.oncell.com.