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Seminole Heights muralist's latest work reminds first responders they're appreciated

Skylar Suarez painted a 'thank you' mural to honor men and women serving as first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skylar Suarez, 28, describes herself on her Facebook page as an “aspiring professional nerd”. The Tampa-area artist has a very particular style.

“I was always inspired by street art and urban style. I am drawn to bright, vibrant colours that pop and make others look twice,” she writes. “I hope to bring colour and inspiration to every neighbourhood I get the chance to.”

Suarez has spent the last few years beautifying her community. She created a touching tribute to the people killed by the Seminole Heights serial killer in 2017 and just finished another ‘thank you’ mural this week in her community.

“I definitely try to give back as much as I can,” she said via ZOOM call this week.

At the intersection of North Florida Avenue and Paris Street, Suarez’s colorful acknowledgment of the work being done by first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic stands out. Bright blues and purples grace the side of the Harvest Bowl eatery with a giant red heart in the center. A nurse wearing a facemask adorns the left side of the piece.

“This one took a collective 24 hours in the span of three days,” said Suarez.

It’s meant to remind first responders that they are appreciated. She never expected some of them to stop and tell her that she’s appreciated, too.

“I was social distancing the whole time. I was 16 feet in the air,” she said with a chuckle.

The Tampa Fire Department pulled up to her mural and posed for a quick photo. The giant ladder truck stretched nearly the length of the artwork. The photo made its way to the TFD Twitter account and Suarez’s social media pages. The response has been uplifting.

“I feel like it’s way more than I deserve right now,” she said. With the help of the Seminole Heights Neighborhood Association, and Urban Art Attack and Harvest Bowl and everyone else who was involved in helping us make this a reality they’ve been spreading it like wildfire as much as they could so it can reach as many people as possible.”

“I am glad that the message is reaching all these people.”

One commenter online said, “That is beautiful Skylar Suarez! Absolutely love it!”

The mural can be seen at 6109 N Florida Ave, Tampa, Florida, 33604.

If you are interested in seeing Suarez’s work, visit her website or social media accounts like Twitch, Instagram, Twitter or Society6.

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