OCSA Bathroom Beautification Project Vandalized


One of the many doors that the LINKS team painted.

Alexis Incandela, Editor-In-Chief

LINKS, which stands for “Love in all Kinds of Shapes”, was founded by former student and recent OCSA graduate from the Orchestra Department, Eunice Santos. Since its founding four years ago, LINKS has hosted and arranged multiple events throughout the years, including a few school-wide supply and food drives, the “We’ll be Your Friend” inclusivity lunch campaign, dress down days, and numerous school dances. Their biggest and most impactful project yet took place this summer when members from the club came together to paint the school bathroom stalls.

During her time at OCSA, Santos noticed number of students who appeared lonely, sitting by themselves during lunch and breaks. This prompted her to start LINKS, the goal of which was to bring students together to help ensure they have a happy and healthy environment in school, where they spend most of their time.

Santos had been planning this project and working out the details for roughly four years. This project is dear to the club’s founder’s heart. The goal was to beautify the school bathrooms in a manner which inspires and uplifts the student’s spirits. When at last she received word that the project was approved by school administration, she “jumped for joy.”

The LINKS team spent multiple hours searching for inspiring messages and designs to put on all the stall doors. Their hopes were to spread positivity and uplift spirits of everyone around campus. “We rolled up our sleeves as the selected designs were placed around the restrooms we were working in. Many of the designs were drawn free handed, with some using stencils as we swapped locations throughout the time. With each intricate brush stroke, the love for our fellow peers was at the forefront of our minds,” said Santos. This project was more than vibrant words painted on a door, it was a reminder to everyone who has ever felt alone and scared, that they are special.

Unfortunately, after all the work that went into the project, to the disappointment of students and staff, the bathrooms have been vandalized, and the work destroyed.

The mission of the Osceola County School for the Arts is to provide its students with the ability to showcase their art where the “community gathers to appreciate the artistic talents and academic achievements of its students.” As a school that supposed to take pride in the art community, this act of vandalism goes against OCSA’s long standing tradition of artists supporting artists. It is unclear the motive behind the vandalization, however much damage has been done to not only the bathrooms but the OCSA community spirit, as well.

Over the summer break, the LINKS crew spent over 200 hours decorating and transforming these bathrooms into a more colorful, positive respite. LINKS hoped to bring light, love, and encouragement to students throughout their days and give them the strength they needed to keep going, and maybe even put a smile on their face. “From experience, I’ve seen so many students run to the restrooms as a place of refuge. Who knows what people go through behind closed doors? If these messages can help at least one person, then it was all worth it,” said Santos.

As artists, we should hold each other accountable for the work that got destroyed and learn to take pride in the art created on campus. While the vandalism is disappointing, the artists who created the paintings will not allow this to stand and are currently making plans to redo the stalls. The OCSA students’ passion will not be deterred.  We will stand together through our arts to create a more beautiful and welcoming campus for all.