A stunning statement of resurrection

A stunning statement of resurrection
Artists Keith Doles and Zac Freeman rest in front of the mural they painted on the Park Street bridge in Willowbranch Park Aug. 22.

Everything is coming up sunflowers now that two local artists have finished the AIDs Memorial mural on the side of the Park Street bridge over Willowbranch canal. 

Keith Doles and his assistant, Zac Freeman, both artists with workshops in the Cork Studios, painted the bright, cheery mural on the historic bridge in late August. “We’re hoping to create a somewhat realistic sunflower garden,” said Doles, who designed the mural. “The concept is a memorial for people who have passed away from HIV/AIDS. I’ve had some relatives of mine pass away from HIV, so this is special to me.”

Freeman said he relished doing the mural, even though no one in his family has died of HIV/AIDs. “I’ve always thought this park was beautiful, and as soon as I heard the project was being done in Willowbranch, I was in,” he said.

Painted on a bright blue background, the sunflowers, which are different sizes, sit in a field of green, and the names of local residents who have died of HIV/AIDS will be written in the center of the larger posies, he said. After the mural is finished it will be covered with a transparent sealant to protect it from vandalism or graffiti, Doles said.

More than 5,000 Jacksonville residents have died of HIV/AIDs, said Richard Ceriello, and organizer with the AIDs Memorial Project of Northeast Florida in Willowbranch Park, which will be in full view of the sunflower bridge once it is built. “We will add the names to the flowers of the (deceased) local individuals who lived within a block or two of this park,” Ceriello said.

Although several local artists submitted proposals to paint the mural, Doles was selected because of the quality of his artwork, Ceriello said. “We had this blank wall, some of it was covered with graffiti, which was pornographic. We wanted to come up with something that was uplifting. How could you not be inspired by a blue wall filled with sunflowers? It’s a stunning statement of resurrection.”

By Marcia Hodgson
Resident Community News

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