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Artistic visions united in one mural

Portraits made by Tampa Prep students will become the red stripes of a 40-by-90-foot flag designed by a local artist.

By ELISABETH DYER
Published May 30, 2003

As part of Tampa Prep's year-end activities, about 30 students sketched their portraits on small squares of red paper.

The next time they see them, those images will appear larger than life size on a mural on Tampa Street's downtown Park Tower.

The portraits will make the red stripes of a 40-by-90-foot heart-shaped flag designed by local artist Eileen Goldenberg. Shades of blue will surround the heart.

The students gathered May 22 to meet the artist and put their pastel sketches on a newspaper pattern of the future mural.

"They're all different," Goldenberg said of the portraits. "All have a different value and style."

Tampa Prep art teachers Kaki King and Martha Miller chose middle- and upper-level art students to participate in the project.

Tenth-grader Sarah Harriman said her talent comes from her grandfather, who painted several pictures in her house.

"It skips a generation in my family," she said as she signed her name on her portrait. The signatures will create a black border around the mural.

Over the next few weeks, Goldenberg will paint the mural on a canvas and attach the portraits. The completed artwork will be photographed, digitalized, enlarged and reprinted onto a vinyl screen.

Professional sign installers will put up the mural June 28. It will replace the existing Land of Flowers mural created last year by Tampa Prep students and local artist Carl Cowden. Students came up with the idea while walking from school to the Park Tower through the University of Tampa's Plant Park and along the Hillsborough River.

The nature-themed mural was the first project of the Outdoor Arts Foundation, a not-for-profit group formed in July 2002 to create and promote public art. Of the seven students who worked on the project, some also created portraits for the new mural.

Each mural costs about $12,000 and stays up for a year. Local businesses donate the money to make it happen. Goldenberg's mural is sponsored by Psychological Assessment Resources, J.O. DeLotto & Sons and the Wilson Company.

The new flag mural will mark the fifth for the foundation, which also displays art on fire hydrants, Dumpsters and loading doors. The theme was children and the future of the country, said Goldenberg, who lives on Davis Islands.

"We wanted to involve a lot of kids," said Jay Goulde, the foundation's director. "We're working on turning buildings into easels, and downtown into a gallery."

- Elisabeth Dyer can be reached at 226-3321 or edyer@sptimes.com

[Last modified May 29, 2003, 10:04:15]

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