The historic, inner city Grove Street Neighborhood in Gainesville, Florida, will be kicking off its GROVE STREET NEIGHBORHOOD project Tuesday, January 31, 2017. The project arose when Maria Huff Edwards, a recipient of the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Affairs’ Star Good Neighbor Award 2015, and, Iryna Kanishcheva, Founder and Curator of 352Walls/The Gainesville Urban Art Initiative, and, recipient of the 2015 Public Art Award, met each other after the photo session of the lovely event at the Thomas Center. Maria asked Iryna to come and take a look at various walls in the Grove Street Neighborhood where Maria has resided with her husband since 1987, and where she is known as the neighborhood leader. Iryna took Maria up on her offer and two weeks later they met in Dreamers Garden, the Grove Street Neighborhood Community Garden. Iryna liked the spirit of the neighborhood and thought a number of walls in the neighborhood could be fabulous backdrops for murals. Since the time they met, Iryna has worked as a curator of the huge mural project in Ukraine, Art United Us, and was involved in the organization of Art (Re)public mural project in Jacksonville, FL.
In early December 2016, Iryna reached out to Maria with the news that an accomplished regional muralist was looking for a wall for her next project. Iryna suggested the large wall in the Grove Street Neighborhood’s Powell’s Plaza. Maria decided this was an opportunity not to be missed. One after another, the hurdles of the wall preparation were handled—permission from its current owner, and, the cleaning of the wall.
On Thursday, January 26th, the awaited arrival of the artist, Nicole “Nico” Holderbaum, and her collaborator, Martin Torres, took place. They came to finalize the starting date of the mural. The theme of the mural is “Love” as it relates to each and every one of us uniquely and yet unites us simultaneously. “Love” will be represented by the expression of the painters in collaboration with three poets who will be featured in portraits on the wall and accompanied by a piece of poetry they have written specifically for this project. It will be dedicated to the spirit of the Grove Street Neighborhood, its numerous artistic accomplishments, and its leader, Maria, for her steadfast devotion to the neighborhood and her love of poetry.
Thanks to the dedication of the Grove Street Neighborhood volunteers David Edwards, John Wilson, and Maria Huff Edwards, neighborhood supporters Mary Mehn, Tom Salmon, and Greg Stetz, and others who believed in the quality of this project, the careful preparation of the wall by the neighborhood volunteers took place. The well-prepped wall will be the perfect framework to the talent, enthusiasm and artistic vision of these artists who decided that the Grove Street Neighborhood was the perfect place for their artistic endeavor. The work in progress can be seen at Powell’s Plaza, 219 NW 10th Avenue, Gainesville, Florida, starting on Friday, February 3rd and till March 8th, 2017.