Drive down Griffin Road past the Old Davie School and you’ll see a colorful tribute to a town rich in history.
Artist Andrew Reid recently unveiled a mural during a ribbon cutting ceremony on the north wall of the school. The piece was completed in conjunction with the Broward 100 VisualEYES project, marking the county’s centennial.
Reid was among a group of renowned South Florida artists enlisted to create a mural in each of the nine County Commission districts and one at Port Everglades. This is his second contribution in the town with the second done at Pine Island Park Multipurpose Center.
Reid said he spent more than a year on the project between gaining approvals, eliciting suggestions, researching and working through hot summer months. In fact, he said, he didn’t pick up a pencil to draw for the first six months. The artist handed out questionnaires at places like the Orange Blossom Festival ideas on what residents wanted. Reid has gotten largely positive feedback from the finished product.
“This is probably the closest you will get to a community-based mural,” he said. “I have done several in my life, but I don’t think I’ve ever had the involvement that I had from this particular community. It did take a long time … A lot of people were involved in the decision-making process along the way.”
“Old Davie School is a living history because this place is actually continuing to move forward with new programming and special events,” Reid said. “The people who work here are so good, and this wouldn’t have happened without them. So I’m grateful for everybody who helped.”
Reid said his aim was for the mural to have a flowing narrative from left to right. The storytelling begins with a bell announcing the people coming in and welcoming them. Other elements include 4-H, horseback rider, vegetables and farm animals, Boy Scouts, and cyclists.
“The mural captures the past, present and future of Davie,” Mayor Judy Paul said. “I think every time you look at this mural you see something else that is very striking. I just picture all the school children making their visit to the Old Davie School coming out to the mural having a little lecture and talking about the history of Davie. It’s going to be a great educational tool, as well as an art and cultural exhibit.”
Broward County Mayor Martin Kiar was among the dignitaries on hand for the mural ceremony.
“It’s perfect,” he said. “My favorite part is where it says Everglades Zona Tomatoes in the center. Before it was Davie, this was Zona. It’s all incredibly impressive and so wonderful. I’m so proud of the fact that this captures the history that I love.”
As a Davie council member and Broward County Arts Council, Caryl Hattan was a strong supporter of the project.
“I love the idea of doing murals in Davie and along the buildings downtown,” Hattan said. “My big thing is art in public places. I used to stop by to see the artist while he was working. I don’t know how he does it. It is wonderful.”
When Kim Stansell, Old Davie School’s director, takes students on her tour she brings them through the exhibits and has them sit in classrooms from the 1920s and write with dip pens.
“I tell them about the mural and ask them what in the mural did you learn about today?” she said. “Every single hand goes up because every single person finds something in the mural they are drawn to and find meaning in.
“It’s a really neat experience. We could not have asked for anything better.”