By Kathy Collins

Ruskin based artist Michael Parker recently completed a three part mural project at the South County Career Center in Ruskin. The mural was an eight month long project, funded by grants from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. Parker engaged the students of the South County Career Center in concept, design and completion of the murals.

The South County Career Center offers programs that allow students to learn skills and trades that can be put to use in the workforce. The programs include automotive, teen parenting, construction, culinary, JROTC, nursing assistant and emergency medical provider.

Students from each program collaborated with Parker to create the murals. The posts holding the murals were built by students studying construction technology. Each mural incorporates the key values of each program and the school in general. The murals use descriptive words and images to describe the value of the programs. The words and images overlap in an effort to show the importance of gaining skills that allow a student to move forward in life.

Parker said, “The South County Career Center provides an education and a trade so that students can go forward in their life.”

The students at the center are often at risk in traditional schools. The South County Career Center offers an alternative.

Parker added, “The main idea behind a project like this is to give kids in one program, such as Culinary, the opportunity to work with kids from other programs, such as JROTC and collaborate and work as a team on a project. The project also allows me to help raise awareness of a school that gives kids a chance.”

The South County Career Center is located at 2810 John Sherman Way in Ruskin. For more information, visit

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