Metropolitan Ministries girls join mural project
Through an art project of collages consisting of flowers and butterflies, a dozen girls recently learned about the Everglades National Park and the woman who secured the land.
The girls from Metropolitan Ministries also became of a larger group of 500 girls who helped create a mural that will depict women who have made a significant difference in Florida history.
The 500 Girls Mural Project is part of Viva Florida 500, which marks the 500th anniversary of Juan Ponce de León's discovery of Florida. It is under the direction of artist and educator Paula Allen, who recently joined The Centre (formerly Centre for Women) as the arts program director.
The project is part of an overall plan to re-imagine and re-open The Centre for Girls, at 105 W. Sligh Ave. The center was closed about 18 months ago because of lack of funding.
The mural will feature 15 women, including former state Sen. Helen Gordon Davis who founded The Centre; Betty Castor, former president of University of South Florida; and U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor. All are Tampa residents.
Historical figures include “Cross Creek” author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings; “The Strawberry Girl” author Lois Lenski; Seminole Indian Chief Betty Mae Jumper; and May Mann Jennings, who was instrumental in securing the land that became Everglades National Park.
Allen led the girls in making collages to “symbolize” Jennings' work; she is using similar methods, including strawberry fields and Seminole Indian patchwork, with others depicted.
“We have found one simple thing for 5-, 6-, 7-year-olds to do,” Allen said. “And drawing a portrait would be boring.”
When the mural is completed by the fall, it will be 10 feet by 5 feet and tour Tampa.
“The art you do today will be part of history,” she told the students.
“It looks beautiful. I am glad I got to do this,” said 7-year-old Kahlynn N., whose last name is not used because of they are part of the ministry care program.
Community members also will be able to participate on three days this spring and summer at the Centre for Girls.
JoAnna Cunin, site manager for Centre for Girls, said the facility is recruiting partners and wants to use this "to get the word out to the community" to reopen for programs.
The Centre for Girls would provide art programs and the plan would be for other organizations to provide different activities such as dance or theater.
“Our strong foundation is art – that is the flagship that we want to bring to the community,” Cunin said
TO GET INVOLVED:
WHAT: 500 Girls Mural Project featuring 13 women of Florida in celebration of Florida's 500th anniversary
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 11, June 22 and July 20.
WHERE: Centre for Girls, 105 W. Sligh Ave.
WHO: Girls ages 5 to 10 with an adult.
COST: $5 per girl.
TO REGISTER: Go to www.thecentre.org