The new mural at Brandon High School painted by Jon Sierra, who works for the Tampa Foundation.

With the new school year starting, Brandon High School faculty and staff wanted the students to come back to their school with something new and eye-catching.

“The building is 50 years old and needs a lot of love,” said Lauren Leto, Brandon High School’s community school resource teacher. “The culture of a school is imperative to its success. I wanted parents to walk into the vestibule area and see something uplifting and warm.”

This year, the students came back to school with a beautiful mural sponsored by a local dentist who covered the cost of the mural and coordinated efforts between the Tampa Foundation and an artist who works with it, Jon Sierra.

“I met Jake Kurtz, who is a board member for the Tampa Foundation,” Leto said. “He put me in contact with Gennie Swenson from the Tampa Foundation. Towards the end of April, Gennie came over with Jon to look at the space that we were wanting to beautify. The space was a blank wall in the vestibule area where parents sign out their students.”

The Tampa Foundation’s mission is to inspire the Tampa Bay community through positive public art. “All murals are installed thanks to our loyal donors and supporters,
Swenson said. “None of these murals, like the one at Brandon High School and all across the Tampa Bay community, would be possible without their help.”

Dr. Derek Busciglio is a donor of the Tampa Foundation and has ties to the Brandon community. It was a perfect fit. His answer when asked why he wanted to be a part of this specific mural was, “Busciglio Smiles has been serving the Brandon area since 1972. We strongly believe in supporting efforts that enhance our communities, and this mural will be an enduring symbol of that commitment.”

Sierra got his inspiration for the Brandon High School mural from the staff and faculty’s spirit.

“Coming into the project, I had never heard of Brandon High School, but after meeting with Lauren and Jeremy, I fell in love with their spirit,” Sierra said. “They’ve taken the baton of the tenure that the school has had and have progressed the vision by marking their efforts in the community. It was only after learning more about them and their vision that I created a concept that depicts the word ‘community’ riding on the back of their mascot, the eagle. It was also my intention to bring in a sense of action by making it seem as though their vision and impact was ripped off the pages of their story as they start a new season for the students and faculty of Brandon High School.”

The new mural was unveiled to the students, staff and faculty of Brandon High School on August 25.

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Libby Hopkins
Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.