Inspiring Creativity: New mural brings color to DES

Savannah Vasquez
Andrea Scurto holds a mock-up drawing of the new mural she is painting at DES.

Gone are the faded dolphins that used to grace the side of Destin Elementary School. The approximately 20-year-old dried and cracked mural signed only with the name ‘Spider,’ is currently being replaced with a bright, multi-colored painting that will depict creative scenes from all over Northwest Florida.

“I wanted to do a complete departure from your typical dolphin picture,” said local artist Andrea Scurto, who is donating her time to paint the mural. “I wanted to incorporate childhood and critical thinking.”

The new mural is already a kaleidoscope of bold colors that will serve as the backdrop for Scurto’s creative animal and educational scenes.

“It will be a transition from a sea scene to a forest scene,” she said. “On the ocean side, the jellyfish will have Edison (light) bulbs as heads, and the middle scene will be a book that will morph into a flock of birds. On the right will be the forest with bears because I think it’s so cool that we have everything from the ocean to bears in Destin.”

Scurto, a self-taught artist, said she loves bright colors and whimsical scenes, something she feels is the perfect combination for an elementary school.

“I think they picked me because I’m colorful and I’m silly,” she said. “I just want it to stand out and be colorful — it’s an elementary school, not a penitentiary.”

In 2008, Scurto was diagnosed with a brain tumor and said that it was during her time in recovery that she was able to focus fully on her love for painting.

“During that time I thought, ‘I’m going to take this time to really hone in my art and focus on painting,’” she said. “I wanted to turn it into something positive.”

Now, Scurto said she hopes her mural will garner creativity in everyone who sees it.

“I want to be able to inspire kids,” she said. “I want them to know that art can help you heal; art can say things emotionally that you can not express.”

Not only limiting her scope to the children that walk the halls of DES, Scurto said she also hopes the painting will speak to teachers and parents.

“I’d like to inspire them to think outside the box,” she said. “To continue to be creative even as adults.”  

On the whole, Scurto told The Log she is excited to have the chance to give to the future generations of Destin.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to affect their lives with my painting,” she said. “I’m grateful I have the time to work on it because I really enjoy it.”

BY THE NUMBERS

495 Square-foot wall

30-plus Days of painting

19 Gallons of paint

9 Different Colors