Library Unveils New Nature-Themed Mural

We invite everyone to stop by at their leisure and check out the new painting by local artist Harimandir Khalsa (pronounced Har-e-mun-der Call-sa). It’s in the second-floor lobby area.

Khalsa has lived in Melrose and painted in this area for 30 years. Focusing primarily on threatened and endangered wildlife she is best known for the HERE TODAY mural on the side of Town Tire at the intersection of NW 8th Avenue and 6th Street. She designed and painted the mural, and raised the funds for it, as a gift to the citizens of Gainesville. She has murals at two McDonald’s locations in Orlando, in the lobby of Barr Systems in Gainesville, and permanent installations at The Nature Conservancy’s Disney Wilderness Preserve. She will be showing works on canvas at Unity Church of Gainesville in November.

The library’s mural is a landscape painting of an upland pine forest, replete with wildlife and stately longleaf pines, which used to cover most of Florida. Examples of this type of habitat still exist in our area.

In planning this painting, Khalsa consulted books on Florida habitat, field guides, a variety of photos, her own life experiences living in what was once an upland pine community, and Steve Earl, longtime Florida Park Ranger who allowed her to pick his brain. (Steve recently published a book, “Ichetucknee Sacred Waters,” and currently conducts educational outreach programs for Goldhead Branch State Park, where he works, and where one will find examples of upland pine communities.)

In the painting she shows six examples of wildlife and alludes to at least two others. Stop by and see if you can name them all.

Some of Harimandir’s work can be seen on her website at http://www.harimander.com.

We would like to thank Chuck Clemons and the Development Office for making possible this new Florida landscape mural.