Art students from The First Academy create new 'Wings of Windermere' mural

The students came together Friday, Feb. 18, to create the town of Windermere’s newest icon, the “Wings of Windermere” mural on the side of Vintage Realty.

The First Academy
The First Academy
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A popular artistic trend is making its way into the town of Windermere. 

Art students from The First Academy, Vintage Realty Group LLC, the town of Windermere and the Orange County Library System partnered to create the town’s newest treasure, the “Wings of Windermere” mural, Friday, Feb. 18. 

The mural, located on the side wall of the Vintage Realty building on Main Street and East Fifth Avenue in Windermere, features a plethora of popping colors and creative textures in the formation of three sets of angel wings. 

The National Art Honor Society and National Junior Art Honor Society students from the middle and upper school said the wings can represent anything — home, freedom, happiness, growth, faith and more. 


The story behind the mural began with Leisa Caravello, assistant manager at the Windermere branch of the Orange County Library System

Caravello said the branch was planning a StoryWalk based around the book, “Make Something Beautiful,” when she got the idea. 

The OCLS’ StoryWalk is a self-guided, outdoor reading experience that invites families to stroll along while reading a book posted on a popular walking path in the community.

She said she chose the book for the event because of its exterior beauty and the beauty the story holds within. “This book is about a community coming together through the creation of this mural, and we wanted to do the same for the town,” Caravello said. 

“Make Something Beautiful” follows the story of protagonist Mira, who decides to paste her drawing of a sun on one of the dark walls of an alley on her way back from school — just to bring brightness to the smiles of her neighbors. 

The force of the sun’s attraction transforms the streets and the lives of their neighbors forever.

The book is based on the true story of Rafael and Candice López, who turned the alleys of the East Village in San Diego into art canvases and the darkness of their neighborhood into a world of possible hope and beauty.


Caravello explained Vintage Realty has selected different schools for the past 10 years to paint its wall. She said the business usually selects the school during the holidays. For example, TFA was chosen to paint a reindeer image on the walls just a few short months ago for the holidays. 

When Caravello presented the idea to TFA Art Director Cynthia Collins, she said the school loved it. 

“I thought, ‘Oh, angel wings — that fits perfectly in with our whole vision for art and everything else,’” Collins said. 

After working with Town Manager Robert Smith to put the idea in place, Caravello said the Town Council members approved the project and the painting turned from an idea into reality. 

“This is a great partnership, and having partners is very important to us,” she said. “If we are all doing great things, we should be able to support each other and share them in the community.”


The main wings are giant and stand proud in the middle of the mural with white and textured shades of blue. Two smaller sets of wings, for children or their pets, stand on either side. 

TFA student Lydia Erickson, who worked on the texturing of the main wings, said she decided to get involved because she knew of the trend happening across the world and thought it was a great opportunity to showcase that art really is for everyone. 

“I love the endless possibilities there are in art,” Erickson said. “I love that there’s always so much to learn and you can always create something new.”

Sophomore Margaret Madonna, who worked on the smaller orange wings on the right side, agreed, saying she thought being part of the project was a special experience. 

She said art gives her an outlet and is a wonderful form of self-expression. 

“It’s such an emotional release sometimes to just get what’s in your head out onto a piece of paper, or painting; it’s just really calming for me,” she said. “I also love that people who walk or drive by look at it and it puts a smile on their face.”

The special StoryWalk took place Monday, Feb. 21. 

Participants started at the Windermere library branch and took part in the walk, an art project and photo opportunities at the newly painted wings on the Vintage Realty building, and at the library, where a set of wings was also painted on the porch. 

Collins said she sees hope when she looks at the wings. 

“All of us need hope, and everyone’s going to look at it a little differently — no matter where they are in their life, and in their faith — but I know that the people that have a faith are going to see this as angel wings,” she said. 

Caravello said she hopes to plan a StoryWalk at TFA for the younger students in the future. 

“When I look at the wings, they’re just so uplifting, and the thought that they can bring people together is what truly excites me,” she said.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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