The Lake Placid murals have been drawing crowds to the Highlands County town for 3 decades

Just a two-hour drive from Tampa, down the back roads of Central Florida, lies a small town with a colorful secret.

“We are the capital of murals. We have 49 active murals in and around Lake Placid, Florida,” said Jennifer Bush, President of the City’s Mural Society.

Murals dot the city’s landscape like flowers in a garden. It began in the early 1990s when Lake Placid experienced an economic downturn. Residents Bob and Harriett

Porter proposed the idea of ​​putting up murals to attract tourism. Nearly three decades later, visitors are still flocking.

“We probably track 12,000 to 15,000 people a year. While you’re here, you go out to eat, you go shopping. So the murals draw everyone in, but once they’re here, they fall in love with Lake Placid,” she says to Busch.

Local artist Keith Goodson painted 20 of the murals surrounding Lake Placid. He has also touched up and resealed all of them over the years. He sees the mural initiative as a nod to the distant past, when cities displayed their culture through murals in the 15th century.

READ: St. Pete’s murals celebrate “art for art’s sake” in an open-air gallery

“As an artist, I have felt fulfilled over the past 27 years. It was sort of my calling to do what they were doing back then and bring the art to people and inspire others,” says Keith.

All murals have one aspect in common.

“Native to Lake Placid only. Whether it’s a bird, an animal, a plant, or a person, they all have to have a history with the Lake Placid area,” says Bush.

READ: Public art goes digital in Tampa’s new Water Street project

City officials hope the murals will educate younger generations about Lake Placid’s history.

“They have an interest in Lake Placid and what’s happening here in Lake Placid through the murals because we’ve connected it to real people,” Bush explained.

SHORTCUT: Learn more about Lake Placid and its murals at https://www.lpfla.com/.

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