PUNTA GORDA — Restoration is underway on three prominent murals in Punta Gorda.
All commissioned by the Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society, the three murals — “Captivating Charlotte County,” “Movie Memories” and “The Life and Times of George Brown” — have undergone years of weather damage leading to water intrusion, cracks and other issues.
The Mural Society hired artists to touch up the murals to keep them looking fresh over the years but, in Spring 2021, decided it was time to commission a full restoration of each project.
“We are always inspecting and reevaluating the murals to determine what restoration work needs to be done,” said Mural Society President Kelly Gaylord.
“It’s very exciting to get these murals looking new again,” she continued. “We know the murals are a reflection on the city so we are committed to maintaining them and keeping them looking at their best.”
The Mural Society has commissioned 31 murals over the years. Click here to see other PGHMS murals.
Of the three murals, “Captivating Charlotte County” is the oldest.
Located at Laishley Park Municipal Marina Boat Ramp, 120 Laishley Court, the original mural was painted by artist Liz Hutchinson in 2007.
Hutchinson kept it up over the years but artist Keith Goodson was commissioned for the full restoration.
He has already finished painting the new mural in his studio on “mural cloth” — a non-woven fabric primed with multiple coats of high quality interior and exterior primer.
“The cloth will be installed at the wall but we need to wait for cooler and drier weather to install it,” Gaylord said.
“Movie Memories” was created by artist Michael Vires at the Charlotte Harbor Event and Conference Center, 75 Taylor St., in 2009.
Vires’ mural was a recreation of an earlier mural painted by John Gutcher in 2000 but it was destroyed by Hurricane Charley in 2004.
For the 2021 restoration, which has been finished, the Mural Society hired two local artists — Brenda Brunderman and Pamela Davis — to bring the mural back to its original color and vibrancy which required repainting most of the mural.
Displayed along Olympia Avenue outside of the Old Charlotte County Courthouse, 277 Taylor St., “The Life and Times of George Brown” was painted by artist Michael Vires and was completed and dedicated in 2014.
Brown (1868-1951), an African American entrepreneur, strong family man and leader of the community, is a historic figure in Punta Gorda.
In 2016, Mural Society members found water intrusion that caused the mural of Brown to separate from the wall.
Vires had moved to Texas at that time so the Mural Society hired local photographer, David Sussman to capture high resolution photos of the two mural panels.
Steve Bair from Rapid Graphix then crafted and installed aluminum panels directly over the failing mural panels.
Bair printed the photos on vinyl, matching the original colors, which was installed on the aluminum and the mural was back in just three months.
Artist Keith Goodson has agreed to repaint the mural on mural cloth in the same style and content of the original, according to Gaylord.
The Shively Charitable Foundation provided a grant to cover the cost of the artist fee.
Goodson has started painting the mural in his studio.
Installation is planned to occur around the same time as the “Captivating Charlotte County” replacement.