Lakeland art project brings murals to downtown

- With a spray can of paint in his hand, plus and half a dozen crates nearby, James Hicks applied bursts of color to a massive canvas in Munn Park Wednesday afternoon.

He was working on his submission to Tapestries, the city's newest venture in public art.

Hicks owns The Vendetta Studio tattoo parlor in Polk County. He also paints murals.

"It is one of my favorite things to do besides tattooing," he told FOX 13. "I am looking to entertain and inspire the people of Lakeland, doing it publicly."

Hicks and a dozen other artists are painting murals on canvas to be hung on buildings downtown and around Lakeland this November.

It is the brainchild of David Collins, known locally for public art projects.

"You gotta keep going," he said. "Each project has to be more than the last one, and different from the last one."

Collins has painted poles around town and sculpted see through human figures, staging them in businesses, on roofs, and peering from places you wouldn't expect.

"It's just fun," Collins said.

It is also a way to bring people to Lakeland's downtown.

"Once they discover Lakeland is kinda cooler than they thought, then all of a sudden it's a destination," said Executive Director of Lakeland Downtown Development Authority Julie Townsend.

The artists are being paid for their work through sponsorships.

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