Categories: Tech News

Florida Tech Melbourne mural complete renovation

Once more vibrant and with a new batch of hidden icons to discover, Florida Tech’s downtown Melbourne mural is poised to resume its role as a colorful artistic cornerstone of the community’s public art scene.

“Ad Astra,” painted by Christopher Maslow and unveiled in 2016, is the 90-foot-long mural on the west wall of the building at 800 E. New Haven Ave. at Waverly Place. Named after Florida Tech’s motto, “Ad Astra Per Scientiam,” which means “To the Stars Through Science,” the mural depicts a panther, Florida Tech’s mascot, roaming the grounds of the land, sea and stars, capturing the STEM focus of the university and its past, present and future.

The mural had sustained a patch of damage where it appears the wall fell. The colors elsewhere had faded over the years. But no more.

Over the summer, the Melbourne artist spent weeks working on the mural. He repaired damage, updated some areas and completely repainted others, including depictions of space and the sky. Maslow said returning to the mural nearly seven years after he first painted it was also an opportunity to assess his own growth as an artist.

“It’s been seven years of building skills, so I decided to repaint certain areas,” he said. “When people look at photos of the 2016 version and the new 2022 version, they will see some differences that are subtle but recognizable.”

Among the additions: five new “Easter Eggs”: hidden gains at Florida Tech:

  • An airplane to represent Florida Tech’s aviation program
  • A balloon to represent the university’s international students
  • The Apollo 11 rocket will represent Florida Tech’s space heritage
  • The phrase “Countdown College,” an early nickname
  • ROTC shield, a look at Florida Tech’s distinguished program
  • These join the previous Maslow “Easter Eggs” included in the original image.

“Ad Astra” is now one of 20 murals in central Melbourne (including others by Maslow). It was among the first to be painted after Melbourne Main Street launched a campaign to boost public art in the area in 2015.

“Melbourne’s historic center is an eclectic destination for people of all ages, offering something unique around every corner,” said Kim Agee, chief executive of Melbourne Main Street. “The Florida Tech Ad Astra mural is one of the most iconic and photographed murals in downtown Melbourne and really cemented our community as a destination for mural viewing.”

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