The quarter-mile walking and biking path is part of Orlando’s Urban Trail, yet many people don’t know it exists.
Orlando’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) is seeking two artists to create murals for the walls that line Gertrude’s Walk. Adjacent to the railroad tracks, and squeezed between high rises and Orlando’s main fire station, it’s a shortcut that needs some recognition.
The canvases will act as a catalyst to inspire cyclists and pedestrians to adventure onto the trail and add to the growing downtown art collection, according to the CRA’s call for artists. The mural walls should provide visual flow representing the activity and excitement of Downtown Orlando.
The theme of the wall is Urban Lifestyle and will highlight the convenience of the route through Orlando’s Central Business District.
Artists chosen to decorate the walls, which range from 7-feet high to 45-feet wide must promote the urban theme without including local theme parks, logos, Orlando sports team, businesses, political messages, identifiable persons or celebrities, or references to Pulse nightclub.
The path and railroad occupy what was once Gertrude Avenue. City surveyor Charles Sweet, who became one of Orlando’s first mayors in 1981, named the 100-foot-wide grand avenue after his sister.
Gertrude Sweet was born on June 17, 1862, and moved with her family to Orlando at 13. The blue-eyed brunette was voted (by whom, it’s not clear) as the prettiest woman in Orange County. She was 83 when she died in 1945.
“Gertrude was a beauty and so was the big, wide street named after her,” according to a report in the Orlando Sentinel.
The land was purchased in the 1980s by a railroad company to build a rail link from Orlando to the Atlantic coast. Gertrude Sweet’s namesake was reduced to a narrow sidewalk next to the rail line.
The city erected bronze reliefs of Gertrude Sweet along the route but that wasn’t enough to entice pedestrians and bikers. In 2010, the sidewalk became a link to the Urban Trail, with the pathway widened and resurfaced, and the lighting upgraded.
Murals to brighten the pathway must be painted with UV protection paint and text should be limited to 5 percent of the mural’s area. Artists can submit their interest online until Oct. 4. Finalists will be notified Nov. 6 and final proposals are due Nov. 20.