Billy Manes' husband launches fundraiser to create tribute mural in Orlando

click to enlarge Billy Manes' husband launches fundraiser to create tribute mural in Orlando
Photo by Rob Bartlett
Billy Manes' husband, Tony Mauss, launched a fundraiser Thursday to raise money for the creation of an Orlando tribute mural in honor of the late icon.

Manes was a writer, activist and longtime columnist for Orlando Weekly, and later editor-in-chief at the local LGBTQ paper Watermark. He left a Billy-sized hole in our hearts when he died suddenly this past July due to complications of severe pneumonia. He was 45.

Mauss is collaborating with local muralists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash to create a public mural for Manes in downtown Orlando. Pilato and Karabash painted Manes when he was alive and included him in their mural dedicated to the community after the 2016 mass shooting at the gay nightclub Pulse.

"I get a little hesitant about asking for help, but I know how important Billy is to me, and I know how important he is to the community," Mauss says. "He deserves a wall."

Rendering of Billy Manes by Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash. - Photo via Billy Manes/Facebook
Rendering of Billy Manes by Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash.
Mauss wants to raise $35,000 on a GoFundMe campaign to pay local artists to paint the mural, purchase supplies and meet permitting costs. The team has not decided on a location in Orlando yet because the project is still in its infancy stage, but Mauss says they wanted to raise enough money to show the potential donors of a wall that they're serious.

The mural will include an interactive technological component that allows people to leave visual and audio messages, Mauss says. Pilato and Karabash are also working on including a student curriculum that raises awareness about activism.

The funds raised would also be for creating additional murals throughout Orlando by artists that highlight inspirational local residents and launching "The Billy Manes Society."

The fundraiser went live this morning at 8 a.m., and so far, has raised close to $1,000. Mauss says he wants people to feel like they're a part of Manes' legacy by owning a piece of the mural.

"When Orlando called, Billy was there," Mauss writes on the fundraising page. "And now it's Orlando's turn."

If you would like to donate to the funds for Manes' mural, click here.


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