VERO BEACH - Vero Beach business owners, artists, and art patrons are teaming up in an ambitious effort to paint murals all over Vero Beach.

“We have been here for seven years, and in that time we have really watched the neighborhood evolve into this amazing art and culture hub,” said Linda Moore, co-owner of Kilted Mermaid in downtown Vero Beach.

“We would love to see the aesthetics of downtown move up to the next level, which is why we’ve started the Downtown Vero Beach Mural Project.”

The group is trying to raise $50,000 to paint eight murals in eight months. So far they’ve raised about $3,000.

Out of respect for the artists and to support their craft, the Downtown Vero Beach Mural Project wants to pay them.

“All the funds raised will provide materials and pay our local artists who are going to be a part of this amazing project,” said Triana Romero, a Vero Beach resident who is helping with fundraising. “Our priority is to pay the artists, because often people will ask artists to do projects like this for free, for the sake of exposure. We feel it’s important to pay them for their labor, their time, their passion, and their talent, all of which they’re going to share with us.”

Brooke Malone, artist and owner of Walking Tree Brewery, agreed.

“We are local artists, and we respect the trade, and we respect the skills, and we want to show artists that they’re valued and encouraged,” said Ms. Malone. “Pablo Picasso said the purpose of art is washing away the dust of daily life off our souls. Art in its various forms is vital, and creates vibrant energy in any community. Urban art connects with the new generation, and for the older one, who understand that art evolves. I couldn’t be more excited to be involved with this project.”

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to share my artistic vision with my community,” said Carol Makris, who is completing her third outdoor public mural in Vero Beach, at the back of the Firestone building behind Kilted Mermaid. “I look forward to finishing my mural within the next week. People always come up to me to express their thanks, awe and appreciation for it.”

Lila Blakeslee, an artist and part owner of Gallery 14, sees the mural project as consistent with the current direction of Vero Beach.

“There is something really magical going on downtown,” said Ms. Blakeslee. “Over the last 11 years we’ve seen a resurgence of the old downtown and an influx of great galleries. In 2013, the City Council passed a resolution to declare our area as the historic downtown arts district. On top of that, the Cultural Council of Indian River County is developing the Cultural Arts Village west of town in the old Edgewood neighborhood.”

Ms. Moore said that spreading murals throughout the downtown area would utilize real estate “in a way that benefits local artists and the community, much like the amazing recent revitalization of Miami’s Wynwood district. All we need to make this happen is walls, artists, and money. The more money we raise, the more amazing, vibrant art we can create on the walls of Vero Beach. We want to mural all of Vero Beach.”

Indian River County already has at least 17 beautiful murals. Most are in Vero Beach, a few are in Sebastian and Wabasso. If you wish to take a self-guided tour to see them, the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce has laid them out in order at their website, with artist information where available. Visit www.visitindianrivercounty.com/vero-beach-mural-trail/.

For more information about the Downtown Vero Beach Mural Project, or to sponsor a mural, visit www.veromuralproject.org or email info@veromuralproject.org. You can also follow the Vero Beach Mural Project at www.facebook.com/veromuralproject/.

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