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New Mural Honors Local Young Gymnasts in Central Florida

A nationally-recognized artist has completed a mural at the Wayne C. Papy Athletic Center honoring the young athletes that attend the center, its renowned gymnastics program, and the diverse community it serves.

Naomi Haverland was commissioned by the Tampa Parks and Recreation Department to develop an imaginary and joyful image. The Department of Arts and Cultural Affairs managed the project, titled “If I Could Fly.” Haverland worked with two Central Florida female gymnasts from the center who served as her inspiration for the artwork.

Located in the heart of Seminole Heights, the Wayne C. Papy Athletic Center is one of two gymnastics and dance centers managed by the City of Tampa. It has been operating for more than 40 years and was the city’s first true gymnastics training center.

“Public art is one of the best ways for us to honor and celebrate our community’s accomplishments,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor. “The Wayne C. Papy Athletic Center is a pillar in Seminole Heights, providing not just quality gymnastics training to local children, but also opportunities for personal growth and lasting friendships. This mural is a reflection of its more than four decades of dedicated service to our youth and the impact it will continue to have for generations to come.”

The City of Tampa is proud to have the second largest public art collection in Florida, with nearly 800 items throughout the city.

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