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Sarasota Police Department shows artistic side

Local artist transforms part of the Sarasota Police Department headquarters into a community space with new mural.

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  • | 12:38 p.m. December 2, 2015
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The Sarasota Police Department headquarters received a fresh coat of paint in the form of a mural. 

A new mural was unveiled Wednesday morning on the second floor of the building for visitors and law enforcement to take in and reflect. In front of a crowd that included his family artist Joe Cuffaro grew impatient to reveal the artwork and proceeded to pull back the plastic sheet to reveal the mural. 

The artwork depicts the Sarasota Bayfront from the view at Ken Thompson Park on City Island. The project was coordinate by the volunteer-based Sarasota Police Foundation as an outreach to the community. 

"This is the true melding our police department and our community," said Suzanne Atwell, Sarasota City Vice-Mayor at the ceremony. "What's a better opportunity than through the arts?"

The artwork is a personal work for Cuffaro who has a son that works for the West Palm Beach Police Department. Cuffaro is also collaborating with the police department on a centennial badge that will be used in 2016. The idea for the badge project began as a sketch on a napkin four months ago and grew into a mural with the help of the Sarasota Police Foundation. 

"As an artist...we want to be able to give our talent and have people recognize that talent,"Cuffaro said. "For an artist to paint a painting and try to market that painting in galleries is very, very difficult. For an artist to be able to put a mural on a wall for hundreds of people to see, for me that is the epitome."

A sailboat is featured in the mural by Joe Cuffaro.
A sailboat is featured in the mural by Joe Cuffaro.

Cuffaro paid close attention to detail from naming a sailboat that appears at the shore of the mural to the leaves on every branch that he says woke him up in the middle of the night with anxiety. 

The 80-year-old artist still has more work to do. A second mural is underway adjacent to the first to complete the perspective of the Sarasota Bayfront. Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino thanked Cuffaro and joked that she wanted him to give the entire building his artistic touch. 

"Having you here has just brought a warmth to our police department," said Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. "Just seeing your face, seeing how police officers and our employees walk by and see the work that you've done."



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