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Art in full bloom in downtown West Palm Beach

'I'm creating something for my hometown community,' says the artist
mural.PNG
Posted at 9:56 PM, May 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 23:43:13-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Memorial Day weekend will signal a new sign of recovery for communities, businesses, and restaurants, especially in West Palm Beach. Art is in full bloom and growing on the front of a downtown building in the 200 block of Clematis Street.

"It really pops," said one bystander with another adding, "It just looks amazing."

As West Palm Beach slowly slips out of COVID, a 4-story commanding project has grown to life.

"I've had like numerous people ask me what Clematis and I'm like, Clematis is a flower but they're like 'we don't see any flowers on Clematis,'" said Cleve Masch, owner of newly rebranded "Clematis Social" nightclub, formerly known as "Pawnshop."

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Masch built an idea on hope. He saw the resurgence of this street and his nightclub during COVID and needed something bold when it was time to break out of it. So, he tapped his niece for help.

"This has been a special project to work on creating something on this scale in my hometown. Has been pretty amazing," says Amanda Valdes.

The 33-year-old took her spray cans and fired up her imagination. Over the course of 10 days, a black facade began to erupt in color over "Clematis Social."

"It starts with one flower, one sketch, you kind of use the windows as a way of griding out the system," said Valdes.

Seventy spray paint cans later she created this masterpiece that requires as much attention as a real flower.

"These leaves from a distance, I need them to kind like pop a little bit more," she said.

At this level of her game, every native insect, butterfly, floral and botanical must be marked with precision, or they could wilt in her mind.

"I wonder how I'm going to feel about these lines," said Valdes.

Her artwork has adorned structures across the globe in Australia, Brazil, South Korea, New Zealand, and the UK to name a few. However, making this mural carries more weight than any other global impression, and for one good reason.

"This project is one of the most special to me because I'm creating something for my hometown community," she said.

And her community is noticing. Pictures are so common now it's part of the momentum of the project.

"This is a gift to the community, art is a gift. Nobody has to pay money to see this, you can just walk by, see it, and have a happy feeling," said Raphael Clemente, Executive Director of the West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority.

It's an oversize reflection of a street rising high above that couldn't illustrate better how art and inspiration blossom to transform an entire city.

"I will forever look at all my murals and look for things I can touch up and add to especially something like this, it's so busy and there's a lot going on," said Valdes.

Friday, May 28, Clematis Social will open underneath its newly illuminated mural with a special performance by Grammy Award-winning DJ Cedric Gervais. It will all showcase the unofficial start of summer and more symbolically the official return to normalcy post COVID.

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