Addonis Parker to Restore Purvis Young Murals

Artist Addonis Parker is a giant on the streets of Miami, and not just because he stands 6' 8". For over a decade, Parker, who runs Art Forever Studios in Liberty City, has concentrated on social empowerment through paint and brush. From teaching art to at-risk youth, to completing  large-scale mural commissions (like his 55-foot tall sunset on a public housing project), to participating in museum shows that celebrate black history and culture, Parker is a man on a mission to "do something historical."

He bears the weight of his quest gallantly, and at age 37, still walks with the

easy gait of a college ball player. The day we meet, he stands outside

the Culmer Library in front of a historic Purvis Young mural in

Overtown's troubled Gibson Park. He's just met Dr. Dorothy Jenkins

Fields of Miami's Historical Black Archives for the first time, and

they're getting acquainted on the land of what used to be Good Bread

Alley. Fields describes how the houses were once so close

together that Tuberculosis ran through the block like a bug in a rug.

District Five Commissioner Richard Dunn and Mayor Tomas Regalado have just

broken symbolic ground on a $10 million urban renewal project for the

park, and Addonis has been tapped to restore Purvis's mural, which is

faded, water damaged, and moldy. Parker points to a brush stroke, "See,

this looks like just a smear, but this was his expression. You don't

paint over the artist's work, you leave as much as possible. That's how

you restore." Here's to progress.