PBS and NPR for Southwest Florida
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
News

Two murals supporting Ukraine were vandalized. Now, this art center is commissioning 20.

Ukraine Mural Project Alliance.jpg
The Alliance for the Arts
Ukraine Mural Project & Community Concert flyer.

Communities around the world are showing support for the more than 5.5 million people who have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion in February, according to an online tracker by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

Two murals depicting Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy by local artists Erik Schlake and Roland Ruocco, respectively, stood in front of the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers for just a few weeks before being vandalized multiple times.

The murals, titled “Double Zalinski,” now have red and blue paint splattered across the face of the Ukrainian President.

defaced murals.jpeg
Molly Deckart, Alliance for the Arts
/
Murals by local artists Erik Schlake and Roland Ruocco that have stood in front of the Alliance for the Arts were been vandalized. The 4×8 foot murals depicting Zelenskyy — one against a backdrop of a Ukrainian flag — could be seen by traffic passing on McGregor Boulevard in fort Myers.

Molly Deckart, Director of the Alliance for the Arts, says that the hateful acts are inspiring the art center to make a bolder statement.

“Our collective stream of consciousness was that if you were going to cowardly throw paint on two murals, then you can throw them on 20,” said Deckart.

The Alliance turned again to the local art community, commissioning 20 murals to display on its festival grounds. The project is thanks in part to $10,000 in private donations that will pay the artists for their time and provide materials for each of the 4x8 foot murals.

“We’re just going to really harness this energy into something positive," said Deckart. "You know, Fort Myers is too great for hate on any level. I just hope that these 20 unique pieces of art that were done out of love, passion and concern are not yet again vandalized.”

defaced mural at alliance.jpeg
Molly Deckart, Alliance for the Arts
/
Two murals depicting Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelenskyy by local artists Erik Schlake and Roland Ruocco, respectively, stood in front of the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers for just a few weeks before being vandalized multiple times.

The project will culminate in a big reveal and community concert event on Thursday, May 5 from 5 – 8 p.m. at the Alliance for the Arts, featuring music by local group Karibbean Grooves and a live-paint mural that the community can add to as the evening progresses.

Participating Mural Artists:

  • Doug Stewart
  • Danilo Rubias
  • Union Artist Studios collaboration
  • Allie Schlake
  • Deb Lawless
  • David Acevedo
  • Julia Da Rocha
  • JP Almonacid
  • Cloud Kent
  • Israel Alpizar
  • Eric Riemenschneider
  • Erik Schlake
  • Roland Ruocco
  • Ian Summers
  • Zan Lombardo
  • Deb Zwetsch
  • Sanaa Bezzaz
  • Artsemble Underground

WGCU is your trusted source for news and information in Southwest Florida. We are a nonprofit public service, and your support is more critical than ever. Keep public media strong and donate now. Thank you.