Another set of picturesque wings — this time, representing the wings of a Florida scrub jay — was unveiled last weekend at Lyonia Environmental Center in Deltona that educates the public and restores and maintains habitat for scrub-dependent species, including the threatened scrub jay and gopher tortoise.
The wings are the fifth installment created by artist Erica Group, who several years ago painted a pair of angel wings on a garage door in what is now Persimmon Lane in Downtown DeLand.
Those wings became so popular with people posing in front of them that the West Volusia Tourism Advertising Authority, as part of its mission of attracting visitors to this side of the county, commissioned Group to create five more sets of various types of wings.
The original wings were soon followed by sets painted on walls at Skydive DeLand (biplane wings) and at the Pioneer Art Settlement in Barberville (peacock wings).
In early August, Group unveiled human-sized fairy wings at the end of the fairy trail on Chauncey Street in Cassadaga. Like the newest wings at Lyonia Preserve, those wings are mounted on marine-grade plywood, cut out with a jigsaw, with details painted on afterward.
Group said she’s pleased with how the wings turned out.
“This has been a new style of construction, painting on plywood and installing them,” Group told The Beacon. “It was a bit of a learning curve, but interesting to do. Of course, it was mandatory for the fairy wings because there wasn’t a building to paint on.”
The scrub jay wings are installed near the LEC’s pollinator garden so visitors can pose in front of them.
Georgia Turner, executive director of the WVTAA, said the wings have driven visitors to all parts of West Volusia.
“We know they are very popular,” she said. “Erica is a very talented artist, and her new wings have sparked a surge in tourism numbers for West Volusia. Thousands of people have been photographed in front of the original wings, and now they have other sets of wings to add to their collection.”
A sixth and final set of wings will be coming, but neither Group nor Turner knows yet where they will go.
“I’ll be starting on them once we know where they will be, which will determine what they will be,” Group said. “It will be kind of bittersweet when they’re all done.”
But a half-dozen sets of wings is a nice number, she added.
“People can go to all of them and pose for pictures in one day, or maybe spread it over two days,” she said. “And they can enjoy all of what we have in West Volusia.”