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Orlando Street Art (Vol.1) - #EmbraceYourCity

We can all agree that Florida’s weather has its own personality, and a really unstable one this last couple of weeks. Shout out to an almost perfect long weekend. The sun is out, perfect scenario to go out and enjoy some outdoor activities.

If you normally look for options or maybe last-minute spontaneous fun, I challenge you to get creative and leave behind the comfort zone of staying home binge-watching almost 20 episodes per weekend. Not going to lie, I’m guilty as charged, Netflix could be addictive. It’s a new year and I’m still brainstorming on what my resolutions are going to be, and it seems that starting a diet and exercising are definitely the ones that I somehow manage to break consistently. Should I go to the gym? Did I mention that I have the facilities (free) at my complex? Only a five-minute walk and I still find a good excuse to avoid the guilt trip. Should I start cycling classes? Probably should get a second job to cover all the expenses of group classes and motivation. But I found a better way to invest time on my self-care without missing out on the exciting, fun and recreational activities.

While walking the streets of downtown Orlando I came across some awesome green bikes. At first, I was a little hesitant on giving it a try. Why not? It has been a while since I rode a bike outside of a gym. But I must admit, I felt like a kid again. It was the excitement of play, that ‘Déjà vu’ feeling. Have you seen the new Lime bikes? This new bike-sharing company provides dockless bicycles, not required to be parked at a rack... And they are taking over Orlando, worry-free, just ride and share. Lime is the first e-bike fleet, as riders pedal a lithium battery helps power forward. It doesn’t get better than this! Some may say it’s cheating, I say it’s genius. I just loved the whole experience. A little help doesn’t hurt. I was just cruising. “When life gives you lemons…” or lime… You know the rest.

Starting the experience is easy:

· To unlock a bicycle, download the Lime mobile app

· Scan a QR Code in the App

· Cost: $1 to unlock the bike

· You will be charged 15 cents (15¢) per minute of riding

Street Art scavenger hunt on a bike:

So I invite you to ride with a purpose. Enjoy the breeze, have fun, but take the experience to the next level by enjoying the colors, art, and murals. I followed a route that lead me to a series of beautiful walls, that not only create the perfect photo opportunity or great Instagram spots, but can also ignite some very interesting conversations with your peeps and crowd. You can even enjoy the Orlando Skate Park, some sand volleyball and basketball courts in this route. If you just want to watch, you'll find some entertaining skaters at the park, some more advanced than others. But make it your own, with several fun options around, you can customize this journey as you like.

Walls of Pho Hoa – Trading vandalism for mural art. The owners of Pho Hoa found their Vietnamese restaurant covered in graffiti a couple of years ago, and what could have ended up being a negative and frustrating event was the beginning of a beautiful display of creativity and art. Instead of covering the walls or painting over it, they decided to embrace it with a “permission wall”.

Fall in love with the intense mural by artist Samantha Shumaker in collaboration with Ryan Semple. It’s impossible not to feel the passion and emotion with this piece.

Meditate on this piece, a collaboration from artists Shayna Friend and Caroline.

How about if we travel to a different galaxy with this amazing wall from artist @Muecke32, all the way from Germany, leaving us some intergalactic love.

If you walk to the Se7en Bites courtyard (parking space), at the southern side of Pho Hoa, you won’t miss the #ORLANDOSTRONG tribute mural. Take the opportunity to snap a picture, #EmbraceYourCity and its diversity, and honor those affected by the shootings at Pulse Orlando nightclub. Powerful work from @hepsfury and @luceskyart.

One of my favorite designs was the Love Orlando wall, by retro artist Rhett Withey and Ashley Clark. And the colorful wooden birdhouses are the cutest thing ever giving the mural an exquisite look.

Then we move along to Sam Flax Orlando Arts & Craft Stores on 1800 E. Colonial.

Feed the World by Danny Rock, as quoted by the artist “it’s about capturing a happy childlike spirit. No matter how bad the situation is around the world”. This piece made me reflect on so many levels. That pure and honest soul of a child captured in his art.

We’ve got a pill for that, as in “we’ve got a pill for those rainy day blues”, by Pop-Satirist, SKIP Franchise Industries. It focuses on the subject of happiness as a commodity that can be bought, sold and prescribed, and the seemingly endless process of obtaining and maintaining it.

Artist Lesley Silvia presents a very playful, but mysterious work where you are not sure where it begins or ends.

Cadavre Exquis by artist Chris McAlister. This collage of images is the sweetest thing, and quite intense, at Sam Flax wall project.

The Native American, with those eyes and facial expression, it speaks louder than words could say.

A massive 60 ft mural by Orlando native Jbon and Steph Badran... Who do you think wins this battle under the sea?

And circling around to Mills 50 you will find some very expressive murals.

In this Red Bull mural I can hear the beat from a couple of blocks. It’s calling you to come to the dance floor. This one, by muralist Andrew Spear, is located at Mills & Lake Highland.

The #DiversityMural features the shadow of a girl blowing a rainbow of heart kisses. The wall is breathtaking. The mural shows the warmth and support for victims of the Pulse Orlando nightclub. The rainbow-colored hearts, remembering the victims of that senseless tragedy on 2016, was created by artist Jennifer Kuhns in collaboration with artists around the world who brought to life the mosaic hearts. Look closely and you will connect with this piece, feel the love and synergy that makes our community stronger. Stand in front of the girl’s shadow and blow some kisses, share the support. Never forget, #LoveWins.

Forest Gump art by Danny Rock. You can find Danny Rock’s work all over Orlando, but this one has to be an ultimate classic. “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get”, Mamma was wise Forrest. On a side note, I think Gump changed those chocolates for tacos. An you can’t blame him. This wall is located at Tako Cheena on Mills.

And here’s another beautiful reminder that Love Wins, by artist Patty Sheehan and Zebra Coalition youth. Its location is 948 N. Mills.

Orlando’s street art adds bold colors and gives meaning to our everyday. If we connect and pay attention to the message behind every collaboration, it is all so simple. There is constant beauty around us, love connects us because Love always wins. Perhaps there is so much more to explore, but for now, it was a good ride and the ideal way to start the year.

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