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Candice Alexander has proposed designing a ''tree of life'' mural on the side of her Alexander Art Studio in downtown Lake Charles.

Candice Alexander has proposed designing a ''tree of life'' mural on the side of her Alexander Art Studio in downtown Lake Charles.

Mural would bring slice of life to Lake Charles wall

Last Modified: Monday, April 08, 2013 10:25 AM

By Lance Traweek / American Press

The side of Alexander Art Studio in downtown Lake Charles “screams blank canvas” and with enough community support, local artist Candice Alexander wants to create a mural — a “tree of life” with hundreds of leaves that will serve as the “map of the city.”

“We are all part of one equal world,” Alexander said Sunday. “This tree connects us all.”

Alexander’s illustration is inspired by a mural in Olympia, Wash., called the Olympia-Rafah Solidarity Mural Project. But she said it will be a “Lake Charles original design.”

The water would symbolize the lake and the bridge would be incorporated in the design, she said. She wants the mural to have landmarks and buildings from across the city. It would have something that says “Welcome to Lake Charles,” she said.

The two- to three-feet leaves would be sponsored — mini logos for smaller sponsors and larger leaves could be hotspots in Lake Charles. These sponsors would help pay for the nearly $20,000 Alexander predicts the mural will cost. “My business can sponsor it, but it would be cool to get the community involved as well,” she said.

The leaves will be printed on aluminum and will be interchangeable. She said just as the seasons change, the leaves will change but about every five to 10 years depending on the quality of vinyl.

“If organizations leave the leaves can change,” she said. “The mural will never be finished.”

Alexander wants to continue to add to it and change it throughout the years. Alexander sees branches coming off of the building eventually. She said there could even be some contemporary metal sculptures.

The idea is not set in stone, she said.

“I’m thinking two to three years ahead with all the new development and the investments that people are making,” Alexander said. “There are 18,000 jobs coming in and with that I’m thinking about tourism and the economy.”

The mural will give downtown more of an artsy feel, she said. She views it as a local community project that will attract tourism.

“The mural is not going to be something you can take in just from pictures. It will be something you’ll want to come and see for yourself,” she said. “It will be very detailed and vibrant.”

Alexander envisions the tree as a symbol that connects the community and branches out to other cities and states. With the mural, she wants to create souvenirs, T-shirts and postcards.

“I see people coming downtown, so why not give them something to take back,” she said.

Alexander plans to meet with the city and the Downtown Development Authority in the coming weeks to hear their input. She hopes to get started on the project this summer.

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