Mural brightens up Floral Park Centennial Gardens

The Island Now
A new mural by 27-year-old Dillanny Espinoza was unveiled at the Floral Park Centennial Gardens and Bird Sanctuary in July. (Photo courtesy of Jenny Reyes)

BY JORDAN SUMMERS-MARCOUILLIER

The Centennial Gardens and Bird Sanctuary in the Village of Floral Park has been a land of imagination and a home for nature appreciation for over 80 years.

On July 25, the 12-acre public space was given a bright new look as the Floral Park Conservation Society (FPCS) unveiled the “Colorful Bird Town” mural designed and painted by Dilianny Espinoza, a 27-year-old New York artist. The piece is approximately 50 feet long and 20 to 25 feet high, as it sits on various textures, curves and slopes of a concrete wall behind the children’s garden.

“I was very interested in this large-scale project,” Espinoza said in an interview. “I had always wanted to paint a mural, given the opportunity, and without hesitation, I took it. I knew it would not be easy, especially because of all the specific conditions of the wall, but I also had that excitement that I knew I was able to do it.”

The mural was commissioned by the FPCS, a nonprofit organization committed to protecting landmarks and providing the community with services. The project took more than six months to complete due to disruptive weather.

The FPCS president, Dennis J. McEnery, referred to the mural as a gift to the Centennial Gardens and said that “having an open enjoyable public space like this urban oasis full of beauty and nature has proven its value to the entire community.”

Espinoza is a visual artist who focuses on a wide range of digital conceptual pieces, architecture and editorial illustration. She originally submitted two design proposals for the mural to the FPCS.

The first option was called “Color Collage” and was a far more abstract version that combined organic shapes and mixed perspectives to give a “surreal touch.” While the FPCS appreciated the first pitch, Espinoza explained that “some of the members also wanted to try something more conventional.”

So then came the “Colorful Bird Town” option, which was chosen. She described it as “a curved design to play visually with the shape of the wall, which also has a more classic illustration style for children.”

McEnery said there was a lot of collaboration when it came to the details of what the mural would capture. He said Espinoza “took suggestions to heart” and her selection of “the types of birds included will make any Cardinals, Blue Jays, Orioles, Red Wings and even angry bird fans happy!”

Asked about her time creating the vibrant mural, Espinoza said: “I felt that I was in contact with nature. I was surrounded by all those plants, trees, and especially birds. It was relaxing, and I really enjoyed painting. It inspired my work even more.”

The mural received positive feedback and that was another reason it was a wonderful experience, Espinoza said.

“The children that passed while I was making the mural, I was delighted to be able to get their attention and see how surprised they were with my art, their faces waving at me and always saying how much they liked the way it was going, the painting, that was very special,” she said.

 

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