Lev art enhances Lake Park

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Rebecca Lev is an artist who loves a challenge. When asked to create a work of art for the outside of a building in the Lake Park business district, she thought about it and said yes.

"That flower shop mural took me 88 hours from start to finish," the Lake Park resident noted. "I did it on boards in my basement and worked on it all winter."

The mural was mounted on the south side of the flower shop building two years ago.

Three windows on the building's second floor also received her artistic contributions to the overall project.

In 2011, Harris-Lake Park High School students painted a large mural on the north side of a downtown building that Lev says depicts the community and also showcases the artist talent of many of the area's students.

Early in 2012 Don and Betty Goodell, along with their son Brian, commissioned Lev to do a large mural welcoming people into the downtown Lake Park area. The building is owned by Chris Danielson of Great Lakes Countertops and Kitchens. The south side of the building had been painted a bright white previously, providing the perfect background for a mural. Danielson agreed to the use of his building as her canvas and Lev began planning.

The mural would present several challenges not encountered during her first project. It was to be 19-by-10 feet and painted on a block surface with seams between blocks.

"The surface is not smooth so it was hard to keep the lines of the painting smooth with the bricks," Lev explained.

The mural depicts life in Lake Park yesterday and today. The size provided the second challenge.

"I had to borrow scaffolding from the janitor at the school and use the back end of a pickup to get to the top part of the painting," she noted. "The wind would blow my templates away sometimes and it got so hot some days that the paint would get thick that I had to quit by noon."

For an artist like Lev, privacy was a challenge as well.

"I am used to doing my creative works at home where it is private," Lev said with a chuckle. "With the mural I was nervous because people were always stopping by to watch me work. They were very supportive but I was nervous anyway."

Lev is not done with large outside works of art. The Heritage Square Museum in Lake Park has commissioned her to create a mural for them next to her recently completed work this summer. It will go to the west of the new art piece. According to Lev there are also plans in the works for a salute to military veterans on the right (east) side as well. Lev has been in discussions with the local Legionnaires and city officials about the funding for the third mural piece.

Her much smaller works of art are sought after by art lovers. She displayed seven or eight pieces at a recent art show in the Lake Park Library.

Large or small, Rebecca Lev enjoys creating masterpieces that make people smile. She is delighted that so many people will enjoy her creativity as they travel north on Lake Park's main street each day. It may have been a hot, windy challenge but Lev feels it was worth all the challenges. The people of Lake Park agree. They are very appreciative of her contribution to the town's ambience and are looking forward to her next artistic endeavor of the large scale variety.

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