TOWN OF MURALS - HOW IT ALL BEGAN

*Bob and Harriet Porter founded the mural society in 1992

*The society placed 142 pieces of artwork in town, which includes over 33,000 sq. ft. of murals

*Tourism increased and has a positive economic impact on the town

In this mural, founders of the Lake Placid Mural Society, Harriet and Bob Porter look back on 20 plus years of the Society’s history.  For six years after they retired they traveled throughout the United States and Canada for 3 months each summer on their Gold Wing motorcycle, often logging up to 18,000 miles.

On their last long trip, they came through Vancouver Island, B. C., where they saw a cutout of a woodsman with a pallet in his hand that said “Chemainus, The Little Town That Did.”  Curiosity got the best of them and they decided to see what this little town did.  They were delighted when they found 32 larger than life murals depicting the history of Chemainus.  Further investigation found the murals fostered tourism and had brought this tiny town back from the brink of financial disaster.  Shortly after leaving Chemainus, Bob made this statement; “We are going to paint murals in Lake Placid.”

In 1992, Lake Placid had 15 empty stores and black mould and mildew was evident on many of the walls in town.  The Porters knew several artists and selected Thomas Freeman for the first mural, which he painted on the side of the Caladium Arts and Crafts Cooperative, also a new business and the brain child of Bob and Harriet.  In 2014, the number of historic murals grew to 46.

Since its beginning, the mural society placed 142 pieces of artwork in town, which includes over 33,000 sq. feet of murals.  There are over 140 towns and cities across the U.S. and Canada that have requested information to start their own mural project to help revitalize their towns.  All the money for the murals is earned solely by fundraisers, sponsorships, and donations.

During these years, tourism increased, which has had a positive economic impact.  Lake Placid became known as the Town of Murals, and Florida’s Outstanding Rural Community.  In 2013, Lake Placid Florida won the coveted title of “America’s Most Interesting Town,” in a nation-wide search by Reader’s Digest.  Ten towns were finalists in this contest, and in the end, Lake Placid stood out among the rest.  It is truly a jewel in the crown of Highlands County.

The sponsors, Friends of the Porters, arranged this mural as a surprise for the Porters and as a thank you for their 20 years of service to the community.

 

Artist Location Size Sponsor Note Audio
Keith Goodson Lake Placid Chamber of Commerce - 18 N. Oak Ave 20 ft wide x 12 ft high Friends of the Porters Look for: 5 Pennies N/A

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