Making a Splash: The Evolution of Fort Myers’ Mural Movement
Every story has a beginning, and in the art world, a mural called “An Alternative History of Fort Myers” sparked a movement in 1999. Artist and photography professor Barbara Jo Revelle created a ceramic tile mural on the federal courthouse in the historic River District.
Nearly 25 years later, outdoor works of art have become an essential part of the Fort Myers experience. You can encounter murals by notable artists from Fort Myers and beyond, and this year the Fort Myers Mural Society has been commissioned to create 10 new, full-scale murals around Southwest Florida.
Ready to wander? Download the Otocast App and take a self-guided tour of downtown Fort Myers as you read, listen and learn about the works of art you’ll find there.
The Fort Myers Mural Society, which is built around the mission of bringing more public art into the Fort Myers area, hosts an annual ArtStumble event and smaller community mural painting sessions throughout the year. You can also download the ArtStumble app to create your own self-guided tour of public murals, sculptures and other works of art throughout Fort Myers’ islands, beaches and neighborhoods.
Earlier this year, the Fort Myers Mural Society and the City of Fort Myers public art committee created a walkable outdoor art and history museum around the river basin between the Luminary Hotel and Hendry Street. The outdoor gallery features panels of 57 murals from 39 different artists, and narrated storytelling is being installed. Depicting life along the Caloosahatchee River, these works of art tell a series of stories including those of Calusa warriors, Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs, Flossie Hill — owner of Fort Myers’ first department store – and even an homage to Elvis Presley, who once performed here.
Learn more about local works from notable artist David Acevedo, one of the founders of downtown Fort Myers’ famous Art Walk.
Artsemble Underground was founded by Fort Myers artists Cesar Aguilera and Brian Weaver, bringing vibrant art out of the galleries and into the community. Find their works of art splashed on the walls of the Cape Coral Arts Center and portraits of notable faces at the I Will Mentorship Foundation in Fort Myers. Stay tuned for upcoming events like the Southwest Florida Mural Fest and the popular Battle of the Arts.
Visit the Fort Myers Regional Library to see Richard Bravo’s mural “The Pier,” an image of three women overlooking the pier. Across from the library, “Water, the Source of Life” shows off where the Caloosahatchee River meets Billy's Creek.
McCollum Hall highlights the Dunbar neighborhood’s colorful history, honoring the celebrities who once gathered in the art deco–style building and in the outdoor space known as Buck’s Backyard. Look for depictions of musicians Louis Armstrong and Roy Brown, poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, for whom the community was named, and other significant figures.
While murals have taken on a life of their own, artists of all kinds have long been coming to the Fort Myers area to find inspiration for their works. Meet local potters, painters and other artists at the upcoming J.N. “Ding” Darling’s Art in the Wild Oct. 21–22, 2023, and learn about the celebrated works of Ding Darling, a Pulitzer Prize–winning cartoonist.