courtney canova butterfly mural
AN ARTIST AT WORK — Artist Courtney Canova puts the finishing touches on a larger-than-life monarch butterfly. BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN

Update, May 17: This meeting of the DeLand Public Mural Art Committee, originally scheduled for April 15, has been rescheduled to take place at 6 p.m. Monday, May 23.

No changes were made to the agenda originally scheduled for discussion April 15.

Update, April 12: This meeting has been canceled due to scheduling conflicts and will be rescheduled for a later date.

DeLand’s Public Mural Art Committee will meet Friday, April 15, to consider concepts for two new murals.

The first is a mural planned at the headquarters of Chris Batista’s race-planning business, Run 4 a Cause, located at 201 W. Voorhis Ave. The mural would honor notable figures of DeLand’s Black history, including Dr. Lancaster Starke, the city’s first Black doctor, and local nurse Carrie Smokes.

The plans have been in the works since 2020, when a team, including Stetson University professor Dr. Asal Johnson and Dr. Joyce M. Cusack Resource Center Director Shilretha Dixon, started holding public meetings to decide who would be included in the mural. The meetings were attended by notable members of the community, including Bo Davenport, Malcolm Bradley, Althea Chavers and Reggie Williams.

The mural would be painted by DeLand artist Courtney Canova, the painter behind many of the city’s popular murals, including the World War II memorial and Lu Gim Gong mural, both on West New York Avenue.

The second mural proposal the committee will hear is for a miniature mural at the city’s newest fire station.

This mural, proposed near the visitor parking area at Fire Station 81, 343 W. Howry Ave., will replicate a similar mini-mural of a firefighter found on the old Fire Station 81, which will eventually be torn down.

DeLand mural artist Kelly Canova, who painted the original mural, is the artist for the installation, and it will be brought before the Mural Committee Board by Mural Committee Board Member John Wilton — one part of the original team behind the original miniature art installation project — representing the Museum of Art – DeLand. The project also has the support of Ray Johnson, the other local half of the city’s original mini-mural program, as well as Fire Chief Todd Allen.

The fire chief did request, however, that the new-and-improved mini-mural include the station’s mascot, Hank the fire dog.

Wilton will have to forgo voting on the mural in order to present.

The DeLand Public Mural Art Committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 15, in the City Commission Chambers in DeLand City Hall, 120 S. Florida Ave. All meetings of the Mural Committee are open to the public.


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