'Magic River' flows through Downtown Bradenton
BRADENTON - Artist James Simon’s mosaic masterpiece is a sprawling 120’ long. It's meticulously pieced together along the north wall of Downtown Bradenton’s City Centre Garage. The “Magic River” mural uniquely depicts the history of Bradenton with each light reflecting fragment.
Bradenton City Mayor Wayne Poston credits nonprofit arts and culture organization Realize Bradenton for enriching the community.
“What we try to do in Bradenton is we make sure that we catalog our assets and then work with them. It’s an economic development tool and its beautification for the people who live in this community," says Mayor Poston.
He plans more improvements to the area. “The one thing we’re going to do here is we’re going to build a sidewalk so you can walk up and down the mural and get close to it," says Mayor Poston.
Simon says his inspiration for the piece came from spending time in Bradenton.
“Fishing and the river and baseball and skateboarding and music. I decided it needed to be tied together somehow, so I decided a river running through the whole thing would be a great way to tie it together," says Simon.
The Manatee River portrayed in the mural is full of ceramic fish created by locals under Simon’s instruction, including Mayor Poston.
“I’m so proud my fish actually made it. It made the cut!” exclaims Mayor Poston.
Simon incorporates hand painted tiles, ceramic chunks and glass bits grouted together to form the stunning creation.
“What goes into it material wise is always exciting for me to find interesting things to keep it moving along," says Simon.
With its completion, the 'Magic River' becomes art work number 67 for Downtown Bradenton.