Artists behind vandalized Zelenskyy mural in Fort Myers planning to paint more murals

Published: April 6, 2022 7:12 PM EDT
Updated: April 6, 2022 7:16 PM EDT

Two works of art in support of Ukraine have been vandalized in Fort Myers.

But the destruction isn’t stopping the artists behind the murals. It’s fueled them instead to create.

Tarps now cover the mural of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy at the Alliance for the Arts.

One corner reveals what drivers along McGregor Boulevard first saw on Monday.

The murals were vandalized with red, white and blue paint and metallic stars.

“Some people love it. Some people hate it, but we don’t expect anybody to throw paint on it,” said Shari Shifrin, director of the Fort Myers Mural Society.

They funded and facilitated the painting of the murals.

“Our intent with these murals was to just put forward a heartfelt message that we stand behind you, human to human,” Shifrin said.

The vandalism is feuling the artists who painted the murals to keep going.

Fort Myers Mural Society and Alliance for the Arts are now fundraising to put six to 10 more of the same kind of panel projects up.

“When you’re doing public art, there’s always a risk of damage,” said Roland Ruocco, an artist. “The way that we communicate is through our heart, you know, so, we’re ready to get back to it.”

Erik Schlake also participated in the murals.

“I kind of chuckled because it actually took a little bit longer than I thought for somebody to do that,” Schlake said. “I do think that this is going to inspire people to help us paint more and get more people in the community involved. I think that this could turn into something much larger than Roland and I had ever intended it to be.”

The new murals are expected to get done by the end of the month.

Someone from the community donated property cameras for the Alliance.