For the second year in a row, the arts are coming to downtown Kissimmee — and they’ll stay there.

Artists contracted by Osceola Arts, who received funding from the City of Kissimmee and Experience Kissimmee, began  painting murals on four building exteriors Saturday, and are scheduled to finish this Saturday. (So now you have another reason to stay downtown following the March for Meals 5K at the lakefront that morning!)

“ARTisNOW” is a public murals projected linking talented local artists from the area to community members. They will create high-quality public murals that transform and revitalize downtown Kissimmee public spaces. The art, powerful animal and wildlife pieces, provide new ways of looking at the arts as a powerful force to inspire community dialogue, community development, and celebrate local culture.

Osceola Arts’ Visual Arts Director Marilyn Cortes-Lovato said creative cultural activities in public, like this, connects the community to the people in it through the power of art.

“It creates opportunities for community dialogue, creative community building, shared cultural experiences, and can improve economic development,” she said.

Orlando artist Ryan Semple is working on a piece on the east wall of Broadway Pizza Bar at 403 Broadway. It’s a bit of a homecoming — he’s enlisted the help of his girlfriend Samantha Shumaker, a Liberty High School grad (they met while working on another mural). The mural focuses on the Florida Panther, an endangered species.

“I created this mural for another project that fell through, so I put it out there for the world to see,” Semple said. “Marilyn got in touch with me and made it all possible. I wanted to highlight a really incredible animal in it’s native habitat, so it explains the . It’s a way to capture Florida in one picture.

It’s one of four projects by Florida-based artists who are transforming the walls of four different buildings in historic downtown Kissimmee. The others are:

Nicole Holderbaum, Kissimmee Jewelers, Darlington Street;
SLEDS, Lanier’s Historic Downtown Marketplace, 108 Broadway;
RicOne, Uniform Cottage, Pleasant Street across from Toho Square parking garage.

Osceola Arts would also like to thank Sherwin-Williams in helping with supplies for the project.