Gandy mural detail

An advocate for public art in Lakeland has launched a Kickstarter with a modest goal: Raise $3,000 to restore a giant, fading outdoor mural at the city of Lakeland’s Gandy Pool at the Kelly Recreation Complex.

Sun exposure has washed out the once-deep blues in a depiction of underwater plant and animal life to soft pastels; paint is missing altogether in parts of the mural that stretches 75 feet wide and 12 feet high.

The mural was painted in 2000, and normally an outdoor painting that old would be ready for its second restoration by now, said David Collins, the local artist organizing the project to crowd-fund the do-over.

Tim Haas

The city Parks and Recreation Department has budgeted $1,500 toward the restoration. Nearly half of that amount would go toward supplies, Collins said, leaving only about $800 to pay muralist Tim Haas for a project estimated to take three weeks.

Haas collaborated on the original mural with Linda Cassels-Hofmann. Collins said he’ll volunteer some time with the renovation, but Haas will be the primary artist.

This video of the mural was uploaded to YouTube by Linda Cassels-Hofmann in 2010, but it’s not clear what year it was shot:

YouTube Poster

The Kickstarter had raised $1,415 — nearly half the goal — from 29 donors this evening, 10 hours after it launched. The deadline to raise $3,000 is Aug. 11.

The city still plans to pay Haas $1,500 to restore the painting, according to Pam Page, the city’s deputy parks director. Any money raised privately through the Kickstarter project will supplement that pay, she said.

Page called the work, which is titled “Bubbles,” Lakeland’s oldest outdoor mural. The project was funded by COLA, the City of Lakeland Aquatics team, she said, adding she doesn’t know how much the team paid in 2000.

Here’s the Kickstarter campaign video:

View the Kickstarter campaign

Mural detail, then and now
Mural detail, then and now

Since then, the city has paid Haas to maintain the mural by applying a clear-coat protective layer annually. Much of the damage occurred, she said, because Haas was unable to clear coat it last year when the pool was being refurbished. The current city contract with Haas for maintaining the mural calls for $750 to cover a five-year period, she said.

A post on the city of Lakeland Facebook page made it look like the city had considered painting over the mural. It said:  “As good stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars, it is much more economical to paint the wall white. However, we welcome the efforts by those who want to have the mural refurbished.”

White paint was never her intention, Page said. “We had always planned to refurbish it.”

Wednesday update: Here’s a video report from WTSP, 10 News –

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Barry Friedman founded in 2015 as the culmination of a career in print and digital journalism. Since 1982, he has used the tools of reporting, editing and content curation to help people in Lakeland understand their community better.

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