Downtown mural honors Seminole Chief Osceola

Artist Tracie Sparks (left) and Sonny Elliot (right) stand next to the mural titled “Osceola’s Indignation.” The mural is a rendering of a 1900s engraving showing the Seminole Chief Osceola when he drew his hunting knife and drove it through a treaty, which was the beginning of the Seminole War of 1832.

Okeechobee Main Street hosted a mural presentation and artist’s reception on June 25 at the Osceola building in downtown Okeechobee, located at 114 S.W. Fifth Ave.

Two historical murals were unveiled at the presentation. On the south side of the Osceola building is a rendering of a 1900s engraving titled “Osceola’s Indignation,” showing the Seminole war chief Osceola at the beginning of the Seminole War. When asked to sign a treaty, the chief famously stabbed it instead.

On the north side of the building is a mural titled “Paradise Disrupted,” which depicts the Battle of Okeechobee fought on Christmas Day in 1837.

Sonny Elliot, owner of Elliot’s Pawn Shop, provided funding for both of the murals and helped design “Paradise Disrupted” himself. Both murals were painted by local Okeechobee resident Tracie Sparks.

“I thought this would be a good idea,” said Mr. Elliot. “I’ve heard about the Battle of Okeechobee for years and wanted to do something to commemorate it. Tracie did a terrific job.”

Okeechobee Mayor and noted history buff Dowling Watford attended the mural presentation and spoke breifly about the history of the Seminole War and the Battle of Okeechobee.

Ms. Sparks paints in her spare time and created the murals over a span of four months.
“I am very critical of my work,” explained Ms. Sparks. “I always find something in it I would like to fix or change. I work a full-time job, so I painted during the evenings and weekends, whenever I had the spare time. It was a great relief to finally complete it, and I am proud of what I was able to accomplish.
“I want to thank my daughter, Harlie Elliott, for believing in me. She recommended me to Sonny for this project. I also want to thank Sonny for this wonderful opportunity.”

This marks the sixth mural project organized by Okeechobee Main Street. Arts and Culture Alliance director Bridgette Waldau credits the City of Okeechobee for working to ensure the mural projects are well-regulated.

“When we started the mural program 13 years ago, it was to bring public art to the downtown area,” said Ms. Waldau.

“The murals have to be about history or activities that go on in our area. The city works with us, and we actually have a mural ordinance in Okeechobee; that way it’s a little more regulated and murals aren’t just going up willy-nilly.”

The presentation was well-attended and featured many prominent Okeechobee officials, such as County Commissioners Kelly Owens and Bryant Culpepper, City Councilman Noel Chandler, County Judge Jerry Bryant and Okeechobee Mayor Dowling Watford.

“This is a really great contribution that Sonny has made to the city,” said Mayor Watford.
“We have a great relationship with the Seminole Tribe in Okeechobee. Osceola was a great warrior and chief for the Seminole tribe, and I think this shows the importance of both of our histories.”

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment