Gazing into the eyes of the Vincent van Gogh’s mural painted on the fence of a house in Mount Dora I could feel his approval. A Florida couple in the sleepy little town of Mount Dora, Florida started with painting the fence because their autistic son was a fanatic over Vincent van Gogh’s work. Reading the book “Starry Night” seemed to help their autistic son feel less tense, so they hired an artist to paint their fence.
After code enforcement insisted their house must match the fence, they painted the house to match the fence. This story, unlike Vincent van Gogh’s, has a happy ending. Their son welcomed the addition of painting the house to match the fence. After over a year of legal battles the City apologized, covered legal fees incurred and their mural remains.
Had the couple caved to the City their freedom of speech and expression would have been violated. We realize ordinances are put in place to protect all citizens of the community and provide a comfortable place for us all to live. We don’t want to live around houses that are run down, junk lying around etc. This mural on the side of the house actually puts a smile on everyone’s face when they stop to take pictures and observe the artwork. It has brought tourism to Mount Dora after becoming a controversial hot spot with the Media. More importantly, it has made one boy very happy.
While the bench was empty I can imagine him sitting at night gazing up at the stars and feeling contentment in a world filled with chaos
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