Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Artistic Touch Downtown; Shaun Thurston's 'Hemming Terrarium' Adds Some Color to Hemming Park

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Artistic Touch Downtown; Shaun Thurston's 'Hemming Terrarium' Adds Some Color to Hemming Park

Article excerpt

Byline: Rhema Thompson

Just beyond the sweet smell of Vagabond Coffee and the yarn-covered tree branches that hang over Monroe and Laura streets, a massive hand-painted terrarium will now greet Hemming Park diners and dwellers.

The 150-foot floral mural was unveiled by Friends of Hemming Park on Thursday afternoon, as part of their latest effort to beautify the park.

"We all know that the city cannot have too much art and part of the renaissance of Hemming Park is more art, more beauty, more landscape, more activities, more people, more fun, and this is more," said Wayne Wood, Friends of Hemming Park president.

The mural of bright green, pink and purple flora against a black backdrop wraps around three sides of the chain link fence where maintenance equipment is stored.

The fence, positioned just a few feet away from where people dine and listen to live performances is admittedly an eyesore, Wood said.

"We've covered the other two sides with Confederate jasmine that is almost all the way to the top, now, so this takes care of the other three sides," he said.

The group commissioned Riverside artist Shaun Thurston for the project. Thurston, who was out of town Thursday, fashioned the mural after a terrarium designed by his girlfriend and fellow artist Crystal Floyd.

"We were sitting outside and brainstorming about what it could be and thought it could be really cool if it could look like a giant terrarium ...," Floyd said. "So we spent about 150 bucks on plants and made a five-foot-long real terrarium for the reference."

The actual mural that ultimately graced the park, amounted to $5,000, according to Hemming Park Executive Director Vince Cavin, adding such a project would typically cost between $15,000 and $30,000. "He gave us the friend rate," he said.

Donations from private partners Haskell Company Chairman Preston Haskell, the Dalton Agency, and Bill Prescott, who serves on the Hemming Park board, paid for the project, according to Cavin. …

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