CORTEZ – Rose Lipke’s “Welcome to Historic Cortez Village” mural now graces the east wall of the Village Center plaza near the corner of Cortez Road and 119th Street West.
Cortez residents and plaza owners Jane and Rocky von Hahmann commissioned the work and Lipke spent about a week working on the 11- x 30-foot mural she completed on Thursday, June 14.
“When people see this mural, we want them to know this is what Cortez is and this is the way we want it to stay – not the parking lot they’re trying to turn it into by putting in some big bridge and more traffic going to the beach,” Jane von Hahmann said, while standing near the mural with Lipke on Friday.
It was noted there are no Aqua by the Bay high-rises or fixed span bridges in the mural.
“I left that out,” Lipke said.
“The tallest thing in it is Bird Island,” von Hahmann said.
“Jane wanted something on the wall because it’s the first thing you see when you’re coming into Cortez. We picked things that symbolize where we are and who we are in the village: the net camp, a kicker boat pulling a net, mangroves, Bird Island and a waterfront view. I’m hoping it will inspire people to help keep what we have,” Lipke said.
“We used to have a different mural on that wall but somebody asked my son (Eric Von) to paint over it when he was 10 years old, and he did without asking mom and dad,” von Hahmann said. “We decided it was time to welcome people into the village and Rosie’s my go-to girl. She’s our village artist. It looks great. It tells a story of what we are. I was just blown away by how she captured what the bay looks like. She finished it yesterday.”
Von Hahmann pointed to the boiled peanuts sign in Lipke’s rendering of the net camp and said the sign used to hang on the camp that still stands offshore.
“We used to call it the ‘love shack’ when we were teenagers,” Lipke joked.
Time-lapse video on Lipke’s Facebook page shows the mural coming to life. On Friday, she mentioned the heavy stucco on the side of the block building and said she forgot how hard that material was to paint on.
She compared painting a large mural to her other recent works.
“It’s a little more challenging at this age. I remember it being more fun when I was younger. It was so damn hot out there that I about melted. I was drinking three gallons of water a day,” she said, noting the job took 25-30 hours.
Lipke was born and raised in Cortez and now lives in northwest Bradenton. She’s been painting and drawing all her life.
“Rocky remembers when I used to draw pictures and hand them to you guys over the fence when you had the surf shop over there,” she said.
“That would’ve have been in the 70s, early 80s,” von Hahmann noted.
This is not Lipke’s first Cortez mural.
“I did the mural with the big map on the side of A.P. Bell Fish Co. the year of the net ban,” Lipke said of the still-visible artwork she created in the mid-1990s.
She also painted murals on Anna Maria Island at Shell Land Gifts and the Green Turtle Shell & Gift Shop, but she said those murals are no longer visible.
Her recent work includes the Swordfish Grill sign and the 25-foot Fiberglass and Styrofoam hammerhead shark that hangs in parking lot shared by N.E. Taylor Boatworks, the Cortez Kitchen and the Swordfish Grill.
“I do all the Monkey Buses too,” she said.
Lipke’s name, company name (COZArt) and phone number appear in the lower right-hand corner of the new mural that serves a secondary purpose as a giant business card.
When asked what services she provides, Lipke said, “Signs, logos, murals – I’ll paint pretty much anything on anything, and if you need a 25-foot hammerhead, I’m your girl.”