Many mer-memories will be made at the Florida Mermaid Trail Festival and Mobile Mural Unveiling, which is a free public event set to take place from 11 am to 3 pm on February 11, at Hernando Park in Brooksville. Now for the first time, two permanent murals will be joining their mobile counterparts in an exhibit “Grown in Brooksville.” This was a theme that focused on the rural community, with artist renditions of this theme encompassing animals, agriculture, gardening or the people and families behind it all – past and present. So, it’s safe to say that you should expect to see lots of glorious oak trees, sunflowers and farm animals
This mer-tastic event will spotlight the unveiling of the sixth round of Mobile Murals, live music, performances and family-friendly fun. The Mobile Murals are a part of Brooksville Main Street’s mural series that was made possible through the sponsorship of Culture Builds Florida, the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Hernando County Fine Arts Council. Lowman Law are also event co-sponsors.
Executive Director of Brooksville Main Street, Natalie Kahler stated, “The fourth Annual Florida Mermaid Trail Festival will feature the release of three new mermaids along the trail, a costume contest for kids, adults and pets, live Weeki Wachee mermaids, mermaid merchandise from artisan vendors and 18 brand new mobile murals and the artists who created them.”
“Brooksville Main Street had made a decision to select one design to be a permanent mural instead of a mobile mural. We were ecstatic when our first international applied – an incredibly talented muralist from Toronto, Canada, named Yasaman Mehrsa. We selected her for the permanent mural right in Hernando Park!” said Jessica Knutila, Mobile Mural Coordinator for Brooksville Main Street.. “She will create a bright, bold design featuring an iconic bird that is native to both Florida and Canada, the sandhill crane. She will be live painting at the event, putting the finishing touches on her mural onsite at the Florida Mermaid Trail Festival!”
Knutila continued, “After selecting Yasaman’s design, we decided to do two permanent murals for this round, so that we could give the opportunity to a local artist as well. Chris Monoghen is based right here in Florida, and created a fun mural with farm animals that was perfect for a wall at Country Depot.”
The Mobile Murals artists are pleased to present their own interpretations of ‘Grown in Brooksville’. Christine Weeks’ mural is entitled, “From Small Beginnings, Come Great Things!” “This is my second time participating in this project,” said Weeks. “When I read the prompt for this round titled Rural Brooksville…I immediately drew a connection to the Chocachatti Seminole Indian tribe that inhabited Chocachatti town and prairie in the Brooksville region known as Big Hammock for nearly 70 years in the late 1700s to early 1800s. I have been teaching drawing and painting at Chocachatti elementary for 22 years and learned the history of the school’s name years ago. I wanted to portray Native American children depicted in a rural Brooksville backdrop from photos I took at the Brooksville Native American Festival. I’ve always loved doing portraits and working with children so it all just came together for me.”
The title of Johan Casadiego’s mural is “The Sun in your Hand.” Casadiego stated, “I wanted to represent farm fresh sunflowers in a more innocent, caring and loving way. We are so lucky to have this opportunity in Hernando county to find different kinds of flowers in the area, so I created a composition showing a sunflower field, a farm tractor, and silhouettes of little horses, barn, and stables inserted in the sky.”
Artist Tanya Myers shared, “My mural is the story of living in rural Brooksville. We have a family of owls that live on our property and when owls find their home; that is where they stay for life. I found the rarest love in Brooksville with my husband and love the night sounds of our yard owl, looking up to the stars and watching Orion move across the sky like an owl in flight.”
Paige and Genevieve of Cromulent Creative murals and illustrative designs created a mural that focuses on the tangerine. “One half of Cromulent Creative, Paige, is a born and raised Central Floridian,” read a statement released through Cromulent Creative. “There’s something extra sweet about coming back to the area where your roots first took hold. And if that area was once considered “Home of the Tangerine,” well, it’s extra sweet and maybe a little juicy too. We let that inspire the concept for our mural. It’s good to be back.”
Luke Taft from Palatka, Florida, was awarded a 15’x5’ sized mural. “I chose to take a historical approach to my composition. It is called ‘Broad Street in Brooksville,’” he explained. “My design depicts a scene on Broad Street in Brooksville set in the 1940s. The iconic Sinclair Auto Fountain, The Tamiami Café and Murphy’s Drug Store form the background on a sunny blue-sky day in rural Downtown Brooksville.
Taft sees a great deal of importance in this theme. “I believe visual art can function like a time machine. We see old black and white photos and read passed-down historical accounts and documents, but when they are all combined in the form of a full color large-scale painting, these records can really come alive and give us a magical portal into the past.” he said.
Painter Kaitlin Kelly showcases an often misunderstood tropical creature in her mural. “I’m bringing the attention to the importance of the non-venomous Eastern Racer Snake,” she said. “The racer is not a sign of danger, it’s actually a sign that the environment is flourishing. It is vital for these snakes to be present not only for the pretty flowers, but the entire ecosystem. I wanted to honor this snake and really bring out the beauty for the past and future of Brooksville.”
Karen Governale’s mural is floral in theme. “When I heard the theme for this round of murals was ‘Grown In Brooksville,’ I immediately thought of sunflowers!” she said. “When my kids were small I used to take them to Sweetfield Farms and we loved seeing all the big sunflowers growing. So I decided to paint an abstract rendering of some sunflowers.”
Chris M. Monaghan of Hudson says, “It was an honor to work on the mural in Brooksville. I wanted to create something that had lots of character and personality. A “selfie” style picture on the farm seemed like a great way to achieve this as well as celebrate the local agricultural community. It was a really fun project to work on because my wife, Denise, helped me throughout the process….The goat was actually a special request. The owners of the Country Depot love goats and their mischievous ways so having the goat photobomb the picture worked great!”
Yasaman Mehrsa will be live painting at the mermaid festival. “I will have a wall to paint at Hernando Park and I am planning to paint from Feb 8-11. On Saturday, Feb 11th I will be doing a live painting from 11 am-3 pm so people can come by and watch,” said Mehrsa. “I am a visual artist based in Toronto, Canada, with a focus on Public Art. I have been creating colorful and whimsical murals for the past five years…I have worked on many public art projects inside and outside Canada….Considering the theme of Grown in Brooksville and focusing on the rural community, I will be creating a mural portraying the beauty of Brooksville Hernando County. My design consists of greenery, hills, marsh, sky and Florida sandhill cranes using lively and vibrant colors.”
Jessie Leasure’s mural is entitled, “Roots that Run Deep.” “My mural is entitled ‘Roots that Run Deep’ because it reflects the profound bonds that we feel with the place we call our home, especially when it is a small town like Brooksville,” she said. “As a native to Brooksville, I symbolize this connection with a tree with strong roots.”
Tori Maxim, Tori Jene Art created bovine beauty with her mural. “My mural is titled “Brooksville Bovine” and features a cute fuzzy cow, chickens, and fruits and vegetables grown in Brooksville,” she said. “It is meant to showcase the diverse farm offerings that the city has to offer, while also putting a smile on the viewer’s face.”
Leah Tinsley, the owner of The Creative ArtNest is an expressionist painter whose work appears at many places throughout Citrus and Hernando county. “Majestic, peaceful and mighty. The old oak trees invite us to gaze, to rest and to remember,” she says of her mini mural. “Each telling its own history of generations before us, while still offering current wisdom to be told. They remind us to stand tall & be proud of who we are.”
Artist contact information:
Christine Weeks – https://weeksfamily.wixsite.com/canvas-creations
John Casadiego – https://www.hernandoarts.org/full-art-guide/joan-casadiego
Tanya Myers – @sew.what.now
Paige and Genevieve of Cromulent Creative – https://cromulentcreative.com/about-2/
Luke Taft – http://luketaft.com/index.html
Kaitlin Kelly – Swirlypainter.com
Karen Governale – https://karengovernale.com/
Chris M. Monaghan – Website: www.cmonaghanart.com – Instagram: @cmonaghanart
Yasaman Mehrsa – Instagram: @YasamanMehrsa, website: https://yasamanmehrsa.com/.
Jessie Leasure – https://www.jessieleasurestudios.com/
Tori Maxim – https://www.torijeneart.com/
Leah Tinsley – https://thecreativeartnest.com/