New Mural Celebrates Memory of Gainesville District Fire Chief

The City of Gainesville celebrates a new 352arts mural created by Gainesville artist Yvonne Ferguson. The project celebrates the memory of Gainesville Fire Rescue District Chief Donald J. King, who died in 2006 at the age of 49.

A colorful, new mural now adorns the façade of the historic Wilhelmina Johnson Resource Center, longtime home of the Cultural Arts Coalition and formerly Gainesville’s Fire Station No. 2, located at 321 NW 10th Street. The mural was dedicated Wednesday, Dec. 18 at 1 p.m.

This project speaks to the facility’s earlier role, dating back to the 1920s, as Gainesville’s second fire station and its location in the historically-black Fifth Avenue/Pleasant Street neighborhood. The mural spotlights an exemplary African American firefighter, Donald King, who rose to the rank of district chief, was a strong advocate for equality and is remembered as a mentor and coach to many.

The artist, Yvonne Ferguson, grew up in Gainesville and attended art classes at the Cultural Arts Coalition in the facility as a child. After graduating from Gainesville High School, she went on to study art history at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia for two years. Ferguson has shown her work as a featured artist at the Center of Women Studies at the University of Florida, the University of Florida’s Institute of Black Culture Black Artists Showcase, the Civic Media Center, Wild Iris Book Store and the Matheson History museum. She has also been showcased at ARTlanta and ArtCentric, an online art magazine, as the featured guest artist of the month. Ferguson has participated and won awards in the Millhopper Arts Festival and Downtown Festival and Art Show.

Traditionally a studio artist, Ferguson created her first mural earlier this year in Gainesville’s Southwest Parking Garage’s “Garage Gallery” in downtown Gainesville. She was commissioned for this project based on her contemporary portraiture style.