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Sunflower mural draws unexpected support

Braden and Alyssa expected a few dozen volunteers to help them paint a sunflower mural designed to bring unity to St. Pete. They got over 200 requests to help paint.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — When Braden Everly and Alyssa Marie announced their plans to paint a giant, hopefully, community-unifying, sunflower mural on the side of a St. Petersburg building to wrap up October, they expected to get some community support.

But, not even the optimistic newlyweds expected the phone to ring so much.

“Right now we have 200 (volunteers),” said Braden. “It’s a great problem to have.”

The couple, married last November, has put the outline for the mural on the side of the St. Pete City Theatre. It features five hands, all different skin tones, holding sunflowers. The display is designed to depict unity within the community. Each hand will represent a different ethnicity.

Alyssa assigned numbers to the hands and flowers this week. They asked the community to come help with the color-by-number style mural. The artists told 10 Tampa Bay this month that they expected a few dozen takers. They got 200 and had to cap the number to avoid too many people on the project.

“I was speechless,” said Alyssa.

Her husband agreed.

“It was crazy,” said Braden. “We believe that everything happens for a reason, so 200-plus? Let’s paint a wall.”

The artists capped the volunteers at 200 and will be working in groups of 50 over the three-day paint job. The turnout was unexpected but greatly appreciated.

“They’ll all see these joyful sunflowers and hopefully leave feeling a little bit happier than they might have when they showed up because they saw these bright sunflowers,” said Alyssa.

Teams of 25 will work together over the course of six days. Each group will be assigned a color and a number to fill in on the wall. At the end of the week, the mural should be completed. On Saturday, Nov. 7, it will be unveiled during an afternoon ceremony.

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