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Artists to transform new business on parkway with mural

By Staff | Jan 9, 2020

A business that opened last summer on Cape Coral Parkway is undergoing a facelift with the help of two local artists, who created Artsemble Underground.

Sidecar Treats owner Chris Cohen, who opened up the business in early July with his wife, has been finding numerous ways to integrate their business into the community. One of the newest ways is working with artists Cesar Aguilera and Brian Weaver of Artsemble Underground to paint a mural on the side of the building at 851 Cape Coral Parkway E.

“We initially reached out to a couple of high schools to do a mural and couldn’t gain any traction. We decided to go professionally. We know the Artsemble guys have a relationship with Cape already. They are familiar with the community and understand what we were looking for,” Cohen said, adding that they also wanted to help support a local business. “The gentlemen have come in and submitted a handful of designs, of which we chose one.”

The design, he said is a landscape of ice cream mountains and islands.

Weaver called the mural an ice cream winter wonderland.

Aguilera said the islands are made of ice cream and there are little ice creams floating around.

“The majority is spray painted because of the surface of the wall; it’s a rough texture,” he said. “If we were going to do it with a brush, it would be really difficult. Spray paint makes it easier on a surface like that.”

Cohen said the mural is pretty interesting.

“There are cones floating in the water, marshmallows and sprinkles in the sky. I think it will excite the kids and adults will appreciate it. The colors they are using are awesome,” Cohen said. “Last night I went by it from a distance. It had a different perspective from a distance.”

Weaver and Aguilera will be on site this weekend during the Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival working on the Sidecar Treats mural.

Cohen said the side of the business has been a plain white wall for countless years, often times leaving it hard for customers to find Sidecar Treats.

“It adds a lot more character,” Cohen said. “It’s a landmark destination to come in. There seems to be a lot of interest. They (customers) can find it more easily. It is our public service to them.”

Cohen said Sidecar Treats offers 46 flavors of Love Boat Ice Cream at any given time. The business also offers gourmet popcorn, retro candy, wine slushies, adult milkshakes, beer and Italian cookies.

“We are always experimenting with new things,” he said.

Sidecar Treats is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“It’s a rewarding business to see the joy on people’s faces,” Cohen said. “We want to show the community that we aren’t here to take the money and run. We really want to contribute. Our hope is to keep going for quite some time and really become a part of the community.”

Weaver and Aguilera, who began Artsemble Underground, started doing popup shows at warehouse galleries before it turned into a mural business, recruiting different types of artists.

Many years ago Aguilera was offered to do a pop-up show in an empty retail space in Naples. With total control and free-range, the space was transformed and the show was a success. He brought that vision, with a little more ambition, with him when he moved to Fort Myers and paired up with Weaver.

Artsemble Underground’s mission is to reinvigorate the art scene and culture in Southwest Florida while bringing back the meaning and purpose of art to demonstrate what art can do for the community and economy.

Aguilera said they proposed a big multi- year project to the city because they really want to bring more culture and art to the area.

“We talked with different departments of the city to get everyone involved to give the city an identity,” he said. “The project we proposed to the city is a three-year project. The first year we are going to be working on the utility boxes on 47th Terrace. The second year murals, and the third year starting with sculptures. The plan is to transform the bus stops — transforming the environmental shelters.”

Aguilera said they want to transform the bus stops with sculptures, making public transportation more inviting.

“There is so much traffic and no incentive to use public transportation. We want to make it more cool to ride the buses, have the buses be your tour guide and see the culture around the city,” he explained.

Weaver said they are doing anywhere from 15 to 20 electric boxes on Southeast 47th Terrace with a group of local artists. An event will be held later this month to invite the community to vote on what they want to the boxes to look like.

“We have a bunch of local artists that have signed up to participate in this. They have given us all these incredible designs,” Weaver said.

Aguilera said they are pretty excited about the projects and have had great responses from city officials. He said they understand how much it will benefit the community and businesses because it touches many aspects – – environment, culture and transportation.

“We are improving the life of everybody in this city,” Aguilera said. “I want the city to be involved in this project. We want to make the city ours and with the involvement of everyone. We can make it a happier city for everyone to enjoy. We want to make it a fun city. We need the support of everyone in the city.”