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Local artist creates murals at Birmingham Zoo

Shawn Fitzwater hopes art will add joy and raise awareness about species
Shawn Fitzwater hopes art will add joy and raise awareness about species
Shawn Fitzwater hopes art will add joy and raise awareness about species(Shilo Groover, WBRC)
Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:24 PM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - What was a plain blank wall on the side of the Birmingham Zoo predator’s building, is now a colorful tribute to the zoo’s adorable red panda, all thanks to local artist Shawn Fitzwater.

“My family has been members of the zoo for a very long time and we love and cherish this place and It’s become a dream of mine to add something to this special place we hold near and dear to our hearts,” says Fitzwater, owner of Fitz Signs and Murals.

He has teamed up with the zoo to create a series of murals showcasing the animals. The first mural was completed this spring near the bird habitats showing the unusually beautiful secretary bird.

Shawn Fitzwater hopes art will add joy and raise awareness about species
Shawn Fitzwater hopes art will add joy and raise awareness about species(Shilo Groover, WBRC)

“We are excited to showcase talents from right here in our community,” says Clark Maxwell of the Birmingham zoo. “We really appreciate our zoo members, and love to highlight them. It’s even more special that this is someone that lives here, it’s not someone we hired from some other state, Shawn is here, he is a part of the community and now the whole community can see his work”

Fitzwater just completed the Red Panda and says he hopes all the murals will bring joy, inspiration, and awareness to the species.

“I want to create a series around this style and these animals and spread the word about conservation efforts. I want it to inspire people to go and learn more about the particular species featured in the paintings,” says Fitzwater.

He also wants to spread joy to everyone who visits the Zoo.

“I want excitement and there is the element of surprise if you haven’t been somewhere for a long time and there’s a wall you may have never noticed, and then you come around the corner and see something new and bright and vibrant, maybe that will inspire you to see the animal and learn more.”

Fitzwater choose a geometric paint-by-number style for these murals and he hopes to create more murals of this style throughout the community, he even dreams of creating a community mural somewhere in the city.

You can see the murals for yourself at the Birmingham Zoo, they are open Wednesdays through Sundays. To see more of Fitzwater’s work, check out his website.

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