After several months of painting, and over a year of planning, the Lake Apopka Farmworkers Historical mural, "Labor of Love," is just about complete! Located on the western side of the Big Potato Foundation, the mural was signed off on by the tireless artists last Sunday. Head artist Linda Lee spoke about what the mural means to her, and what she hopes that it will inspire in the Apopka community. Lee remembers the days when Apopka was booming, sporting a movie theater, shoeshine, and Mr. Jabo's ice cream parlor, which, according to Lee, was arguably the best ice cream in town. She remembers the hard work ethic of the residents, how everyone was proud of the community that they had built. Yet today, the newer generations can't seem to wait to get out of town. Lee says that the younger generations aren't proud of the place they grew up in like their older family members are. She wants to change that.
“We got a real town, we just got to keep it going on. If we don’t get up and do something, we're going to be the lost generation,” says Lee. The mural itself depicts the residents of Apopka as she knew them growing up: her dad picking onions, her grandfather chopping wood, people working in a real town. Perhaps the most unique feature of the artwork is the collection of QR codes integrated in the piece. When onlookers scan the codes with their phones, they will hear interviews with life-long Apopkan residents about the town’s history and their personal experiences. Lee’s hope is that people will come to look at this mural and think, “Wow, these people were proud."
Apopka is not nowhere. As Lee puts it, “Put something into it, get something out of it.” The hope is that young people will learn about their hometown’s history and want to renew it. Apopka needs the businesses to come back. In other towns, there can be five Publix supermarkets within a mile of each other. In Apopka, there are just two. Lee wants to see her community launch the city into a whole new era, where people look out for and respect one another. Respect the past, and pave the way for a new future. “We cannot be selfish in this world,” Lee states. “‘Labor of Love’ means we need to pour out the love towards each other.”
Check back here for information on the community unveiling party for the “Labor of Love” Historical Apopkan mural.
Thanks to all of Linda’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren who not only contributed to the artwork but spend countless days in the sun, heat, and even rain in support of the work on the mural. Thanks to all the many community members, artists, and volunteers who contributed so much to both the vision and the creation of the mural. This was truly a community project!
Funding for the mural was through the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs and through generous donors who donated to our Ioby online fundraiser.