In these times of economic crisis in the Sunshine State, our "wise" leaders are cutting education budgets to the point that Florida's per student spending is the lowest in the country. As they brainstorm ways to save even more money, one of the options in Orange County is to close several small neighborhood schools like Kaley Elementary. Kaley is unique because the architecture doesn't look like anything else in Central Florida. The school's website has the following historical information: "Kaley Elementary School was constructed of Depression bricks in 1935 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) workers. The outer beauty of the school lies in its old English style of architecture. " I find it interesting that the only thing that may keep this New Deal era school open is a 21st century federal stimulus package. My hope is that we can find long term solutions to keep Kaley and all the neighborhood schools open.
Not far up the road from Kaley on Bumby is another property unique to Conway. I've driven by this house, many times but finally stopped to take a closer look this weekend. The front yard features two Koi ponds, dozens of statues, a waterfall, and a delightful mural on the front of the house. The mural creates the illusion of a huge waterfall filling the Koi pond and is created by the same artist who created the murals on Whiskey Lou's, an establishment down the road.
In fact the mural tradition seems to be alive and well in Conway and in neighborhoods near downtown. While many of the historic murals painted early in the 20th century by Florida's artists are lost, contemporary artists continue their legacy, creating their own fantastic interpretations of our state.