NEW: West Palm Beach’s latest downtown mural is in a surprising spot

Updated Feb 02, 2018
The parking garage of the new Fourth District Court of Appeal courthouse, which has been painted with a mural, Friday, January 5, 2018. Cecilia Lueza of Cecilia Lueza Art Projects designed the mural. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

The latest addition to the city’s outdoor art scene is not on a wall, it’s on a roof.

The upper parking deck of the new Fourth District Court of Appeal garage, at 110 S. Tamarind Ave., boasts a colorful mural by Argentine-born Miami artist Cecilia Lueza.

Aerial shot of garage for Fourth District Court of Appeal, at 110 S. Tamarind Ave., West Palm Beach. (Courtesy of Cecilia Lueza) Photo: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The design, traced out with a laser instrument, was inspired by bright South Florida colors and tropical weather, the artist said. “Skylanes” is meant to provide “a welcoming focal point which engages the public while creating a unique identity and visual spotlight” for the court, she said.

The $18 million courthouse and $8 million garage opened in January, first beneficiaries of a new ordinance to improve the aesthetics of rooftop parking decks. (Courtesy of Cecilia Lueza) Photo: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

The $26 million project came along just as the city was working on an ordinance to beautify rooftop parking decks, particularly as the boom in downtown construction means there’ll be more and more apartment residents, hotel guests and office workers looking down on buildings below.

Initial drafts of the ordinance said that if developers wanted to use the tops of their buildings’ garages for parking, they’d have to adorn them with landscaping. That could have meant maintenance costs, with irrigation pipes, rust and other problems, from the increasing weight of dirt added over time to the fact that trees grow, said Chief Judge Jonathan Gerber.

An attendee of the opening ceremonies for the new Fourth District Court of Appeal courthouse walks across the roof of the parking garage, which has been painted with a mural, Friday, January 5, 2018. Cecilia Lueza of Cecilia Lueza Art Projects designed the mural. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post) Photo: Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

So the court’s planners helped convince the city to allow murals as an alternative, as has been done in Miami and elsewhere. “We thought we could do something that would be visually appealing but in a much more longterm and shortterm cost-efficient manner,” Gerber said.