“Waves Of Liberation” Mural Unveiled At The Grand Re-Opening And Ribbon Cutting Ceremony In Historic Eatonville

The Ribbon Cutting Ceremony marks the opening of the pool in Historic Eatonville. Photo Credit: Eatonville Chamber of Commerce
Check for $20,000 dollars presented to Eatonville by Olympian Rowdy Gaines on behalf of Step Into Swim. Photo Credit: Town of Eatonville
Gathering at the re-opening of the Historic Town of Eatonville Pool. Photo credit: Mariah Roman
“Wave Of Liberation” Saint Jose Fuertez stands in front of his beautiful and historic mural. Photo by Mariah Roman


EATONVILLE – On Saturday, May 25, 2024, the Town of Eatonville celebrated a historic moment, the grand re-opening of its newly renovated community pool. The ceremony featured the ribbon cutting and the unveiling of a breathtaking mural titled “Waves of Liberation. The event was a joyous celebration, attended through the day by hundreds of enthusiastic residents and visitors.

Mayor Angie Gardner welcomed the community, distinguished guests, and visitors. She illuminated the importance of the pool to the Eatonville community.   The pool was made possible due to the efforts of All Seasons Pool and a number of other community partners.

Mr. Don Garden, Chief Operating Officer (COO), All Seasons Pool, shared his company’s history and commitment to community service, complimenting the many local partners who worked together seamlessly to restore Eatonville’s community pool and recreational spaces just in time for the summer.  Danielle Hodge, Founder of Alma Swim Foundation shared the mission and work of the Foundation, highlighting the importance of diversity in aquatics and water safety education. Javon Clark, Operations Director at YMCA, of Central, Florida, spoke of the role the YMCA will play to assist in the pool’s sustainability.

It was an especially touching moment when Mr. Robert Knight, a long-time resident and former lifeguard at the pool, shared his emotional response to the re-opening, expressing his gratitude and excitement.

The most notable and engaging, keynote speaker was Rowdy Gaines, three-time Olympic gold medalist, a member of the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame, and the driving force behind the “Step Into Swim” initiative which provides the swimming education that is crucial to ensure swimmers have the capabilities to protect themselves in any swimming environment.

The vibrant new mural at the Eatonville pool was created by local artist Saint Jose Fuertez and curated by local artist collective, Art of Collab. The grand re-opening and mural marks a significant shift for the town’s cultural landscape.

The Artist: Saint Jose Fuertez

The “Waves of Liberation” mural is a powerful testament to Saint Jose Fuetez’s talent and deep connection to Eatonville. “I love that the people in Eatonville feel like they have something that they can call their own. To be the vessel of this message and mural is all I wanted. Everything I created here was from God – through me – to you all”, says Saint Jose Fuertez,  a beloved artist in the Central Florida art scene. Well known for his dynamic artwork: from canvas paintings, digital illustrations, to one-of-a-kind mural work.  Fuertez is a multifaceted visual storyteller focused on creating memorable artwork, painting every-day people as the modern-day heroes that they are. The “Waves of Liberation” mural is his largest mural to-date, created to inspire joyful play. His vision was to illustrate Eatonville’s motto, “the town that freedom built” by depicting adults and children swimming freely, feeling liberated in the water. Figures are  painted flying, soaring freely—  reaching out to new horizons, embodying a spirit of unity. Fuertez captures the essence of the community’s history through memorable landmarks and buildings painted in the clouds: the Eatonville Library, Eatonville Town Hall Clock Tower, and so much more. The mural features a series of waves, symbolizing the community’s triumph of freedom as the first African American incorporated municipality in the United States. Every inch of the mural is intentional, with vibrant gradients of blues and greens to reflect the aquatic waves and landscape.

Mural Curators: Art of Collab

Art of Collab, is a local collective of artists, who worked to ensure that the mural is reflective of Eatonville’s story, engaging, and compelling, with a sense of place. Its mission is to inspire community collaboration and unity through various mediums of public art. Art of Collab was founded by local Black artists to help make art more accessible to neighborhoods and communities without galleries or museums.

Muralist, Saint Jose Fuertez shares his hope, “that the “Waves of Liberation” mural will inspire families and youth to swim for years to come, and to continue to dream”.

The grand re-opening of Eatonville’s renovated community pool, and The “Waves of Liberation” mural unveiling was a joyous occasion. Thanks to the generous contributions of All Seasons Pools and its community partners, the creative vision of Saint Jose Fuertez, the collaborative curation of Art of Collab, Eatonville’s illustrious Mayor Angie Gardner and staff. Eatonville’s new pool and mural represent an inspiring testimony. Eatonville’s journey towards a bright future continues.

The Collaboration of community partners include the following:

All Seasons Pools (Don Garden, Corbet Vaupel and the team)

  • Advanced Aluminum
  • Alliance Pavers
  • Aquaworx
  • All Phase Pool Remodeling
  • Belgard
  • Fluidra
  • Harrington
  • Kokin Lawn Care
  • Pool Corp.
  • Rose Technology
  • Verity Construction Company
  • Walker & Co
  • Carecraft
  • Heritage Pool Supply Group
  • Rick Tommell with Tandem Engineering

Town of Eatonville

  • Town Staff

◦           Recreation Department (Darius Washington)

◦           Public Works Department (Valerie, Sidney, Michele, Tj, and the team)

◦           Town Administration (Nichole Washington, Brittani Gragg)

  • Partners & Contributors

◦           Frank Gay Plumbing Services

◦           YMCA of Central Florida (Lifeguards)

◦           Alma Swim Foundation (Community partner)

◦           Step into Swim ($20,000 donation)

This collaboration is of unmeasurable value to the Town of Eatonville and the many children, adults and families who will benefit.  May this spirit of community live on.