On Open Canvas Day, you can paint an abandoned Fort Lauderdale building for free

It’s open season on the blighted “One Stop Shop” building in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and a battalion of local artists and volunteers aim to coat its gray walls with colorful new murals.

During Open Canvas Day on Saturday, Oct. 28, the general public and 50 invited muralists will use paintbrushes and spray cans on the derelict building’s four walls at 301 N. Andrews Avenue. Anyone can paint for free, and art supplies will be provided onsite.

“The murals will wrap around the entire building. It’s a big feat,” says Kelcie Mcquaid, one of the participating artists whose design firm, Shangri-La Creations, is organizing Open Canvas Day. “The building has been a bit of an eyesore for the city for a long time, and they were looking for ways to transform it into a public-art piece.”

Mcquaid was tapped by city volunteer coordinator Jorg Hruschka and staff at the ArtServe gallery to run the project, backed by a $10,000 artist stipend that came together through sponsors and community donations. The idea, she says, is to beautify the building in time for the new Fort Lauderdale Brightline station one block southwest, scheduled to start service by the end of 2017.

Muralists from West Palm Beach to Miami will slap on coats of paint. Because of the murals’ high visibility to downtown commuters, designs were approved weeks ago. The building will feature massive birds, flowers and a woman holding a rooster.

Mcquaid’s mural? “I’m going to be doing an abstract background with portraits of kids playing patty cake,” she says. “I just want it to be an ode to childhood, playfulness and enjoying yourself.”

The One Stop Shop building, so named for the days it was used by the city's building services and code enforcement departments 15 years ago, covers one square city block. The project will be massive, Mcquaid says, and will be finished in three phases, all coinciding with the nearby monthly FAT Village and MASS District art walks. This month’s art walk will take place 7-11 p.m. Oct. 28.

Future Open Canvas Days are scheduled for 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, and Saturday, Dec. 30.

Open Canvas Day will take place 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at the abandoned One Stop Shop building, 301 N. Andrews Ave., in Fort Lauderdale. Admission is free. Call 954-336-6617 or go to the Facebook event page.

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