To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and celebrate Central Florida’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement of that decade, Orange County and the Orange County Regional History Center looked to Full Sail for a piece of student-created artwork. Thirteen Computer Animation and Game Art students – under the art direction of three Computer Animation faculty members – came together to create a series of three panels that depict the faces of notable Civil Rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Zora Neale Hurston overlooking downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola.
The student and faculty crew (a complete list of participants is below) created the mural over a span of eight hours, using pastels, matte gel, acrylic paint, and more. Both of the leaders featured in the painting played an integral part in the Civil Rights movement here in Orlando –back in 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. gave an impassioned speech in support of the Civil Rights Act at Orlando’s Tinker Field, and former Eatonville resident Zora Neale Hurston championed the movement through her African-American literature.
The finished piece made its debut at the History Center last week during an official ceremony that featured appearances and heartfelt remembrances from Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Dean Curtis (the godson of Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks), Belinda Frazier of the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida, Orange County NAACP President Kran Riley, and Full Sail President Garry Jones. Garry – with the help of members of the Orange County Civil Rights Committee, Mayor Jacobs, and a few of the Full Sail student artists, unveiled the mural at the end of the ceremony.
“As president of Full Sail University, I’m honored to serve a diverse community of students, staff, and faculty, comprised of immensely talented individuals,” said Garry. “Our hope is that this mural serves as a symbol for our community, and continues to inspire the ever-present possibility of positive change.”
Students and faculty who helped create the mural were given commemorative certificates from Mayor Jacobs as gratitude for their contribution. It capped off an hour-long ceremony that honored the Freedom Fighters through anecdotes and stories. Kran Riley spoke of being on the lawn at the Lincoln Memorial back in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his memorable “I Have a Dream” speech, and Dean Curtis remembered and honored his late godmother, Rosa Parks, by presenting Mayor Jacobs with an official portrait of her.
The work joins other notable student pieces that have been created as part of the Art of Full Sail initiative, including a multimedia print for Hard Rock International’s “Pinktober” breast cancer awareness campaign and a finger-painting project for the Diabetes Hands Foundation.
The mural (along with a a monitor showing the time-lapse and a plaque recognizing the artists) is now on display on the second floor of the Orange County Regional History Center.
Art of Full Sail/Orange County Regional History Center Artists:
Jamie Lynn Riccio
Plinio Pinto (Faculty, Original Design and Art Direction)
Johannah O’Donnell (Faculty, Art Direction)
Holly Tharp Earhart (Faculty, Art Direction)