The Palm Beach Post
BY LINDA SANTACRUZ | THE PALM BEACH POST | JULY 28, 2014
LAKE WORTH — Downtown Lake Worth is getting more color.
Over the weekend, three sleek murals were decked on the walls of retail buildings on Lucerne Avenue during the Going-A-Wall live-painting event. It featured live music, food trucks and several paint-covered artists in action.
On one wall, the side of Bruce Webber’s Art Gallery building, a multicolored owl sitting on top of a lotus flower against a black background was the focus. On the sides were American Indians, which the painter said represented the original tribe of Lake Worth. Bright pink clouds covered the top along with two speakers shooting out colors.
“These are some of the cooler things I found digging on Google about the history of Lake Worth,” said the Miami-based street artist Trek6, also known as Oscar Montes. “I didn’t just want to come up here and write my name.”
On the side of his own art gallery on North K Street, Sami Makela was painting himself.
The purpose was to attract people to his shop, which seemed secluded in the empty ally. The painting featured life-sized Makela dressed in jeans and a blue hat, pointing a paintbrush at an empty canvas.
Purple and red abstract colors stretched out over his head and toward the sky, as if they were too great to remain on paper.
“I want people passing to say, ‘Hey, look! Someone is painting there!’ ” Makela said. “And when they get closer, they’d realize it was only a painting.”
While graphic designer Eduardo Mendieta wasn’t painting himself, he was painting a face. It was rendering of a photographed Afghanistan man with piercing eyes.
“His face just spoke to me,” said Mendieta, who is also one of the artists behind the Evernia parking garage mural in West Palm Beach.
The man behind the colorful event was Bruce Webber, who hopes Lake Worth will take after Wynwood, Miami’s booming art district.
Bruce knew art was changing when the Florida palm tree paintings that hung in his 44-year-old Lake Worth art gallery were just not selling like they used to.
He was looking for something fresh, and during the 20th annual Lake Worth Street Painting Festival back in February, he found it.
Montes and Ruben Ubiera, another Miami street artist, wowed the crowd with a lively, large-scale mural they spray painted on the side of Webber’s building.
That temporary mural is now gone, rolled and stowed away as Bruce finds a buyer for the work. Montes’ animated tribute to Lake Worth will now take its place.
John Powell is one of the Lake Worth residents that were taken by the first mural. When his truck’s trailer needed a paint job, he took it to a street art festival.
“Paint it,” he told the artists. Powell now drives around pulling a colorful blob of bubble letters, a mermaid and a tree.
Four more mural-paintings are slated to take place again in November, continuing the push for an active art district in the heart of Lake Worth.
“This is only the beginning,” Bruce said. “If you don’t change with time, you’re going to get left behind. That’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”