Florida Artist Gives Everyone a Chance to Be an Angel

Erica Group's heavenly piece of artwork on the side of a local newspaper building is giving people an opportunity to earn their wings. 

- Posted on Aug 19, 2016

Erica Group DeLand Wings

There have been quite a few angel sightings on social media lately.

That’s because Erica Group, an artist in DeLand, Florida decided—in a moment of inspiration—to etch a giant pair of wings onto the side of a local business.

Two years ago, Group was working at a small clothing boutique in downtown DeLand. The tiny store was located next to an alley that served as a backdrop for photos Group and her colleagues took of their new merchandise.

"Anytime we'd post a picture of us wearing clothing for the store, items would sell," Group recalls. 

One afternoon, Group was struck with an idea to fill the beautiful, blank canvas that was the alley's wall with a pair of feathered wings. 

She got permission from the owner of the West Volusia Beacon Newspaper to chalk her heavenly piece of artwork on the paper's building and took some photos of the finished product to share on social media. Soon, people from all over town were coming to have their picture taken in front of the wings. 

"It went crazy," Groups says. "People kept coming into the store, asking where the wings were and taking their own pictures. It just started spreading."

The owner of the building quickly caught onto the trend and asked Group to make the wings more permanent—replacing chalk with paint. Since then, more than 1,400 people have had their picture taken with the wings, usually sharing them on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #DeLandWings.

"It's become this cool treasure hunt in town," Groups explains. "They're tucked away in this alley, kind of hidden. I love walking back there and seeing people looking at them for the first time." 

The artist wants the wings to be interpreted however people wish -- though she's heard the word "angels" quite a bit. 

"I love that they have ability to morph into different things," Group says. 

However you look at them, they certainly seem to be inspiring people and bringing a bit of joy to Group’s hometown. 

"It's very humbling," Group says about how her artwork has touched so many lives. "I would love to do more wing murals in other small towns. I think it would be neat."

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