Portrait of American diversity unfurls with Flagler Drive street mural

1:51 p.m Friday, Nov. 17, 2017 Local
Members of the public were invited to have their portraits taken in a special photobooth truck for the project. (Courtesy of Inside/Out Dreamers Project)

One-hundred fifty-four people were flattened on Flagler Drive. And yet they smiled.

A stretch of the waterfront road just south of Fern Street on Sunday became the latest canvas for artist JR’s nationwide Inside Out/Dreamers project, in which he invited the public to have portraits taken in a special photo booth truck. The portraits were affixed to the street as a patchwork mural, seven across by 22 north to south, representing a portrait of America’s diversity that includes recent immigrants and descendants of immigrants of decades past.

The mural installation was to remain for as long as it lasted on the eastern two lanes of Flagler, where cars have been temporarily banned, as part of the city’s Flagler Shore pilot program to encourage walking, biking and a human connection to the waterfront. Unfortunately, it only lasted until Thursday. Rainy weather keep it from being sealed properly after it was complete and it deteriorated.

Arranged by the city’s Art in Public Places program and paid for by the Emerson Collective, Inside Out makes a political statement in support of the DREAM Act, an acronym for Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, an effort to grant legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and went to school here.

Murals were created in Tampa on Nov. 8, Miami on Nov. 10 and 11, West Palm Beach on Nov. 12 and Orlando on Nov. 15. To track the project’s progress across the U.S., visit http://www.insideoutproject.net/dreamers/.