PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - A colorful mural featuring Los Angeles native Amanda Gorman, the poet who read her work at President Joe Biden's inauguration and at the Super Bowl, is now on display in downtown Palm Springs.
Los Angeles-based artist MisterAlek painted Gorman surrounded by butterflies and the word "unity.'' The scene depicts the Los Angeles native's powerful reading of her original poem "The Hill We Climb'' at the Jan. 20 presidential swearing-in ceremony in Washington, D.C., which thrust her into the national spotlight.
The mural popped up with little fanfare until nearing its completion at a spot called the "art pit'' near Belardo Road and Museum Way, owned by Grit Development. Commissioned for $5,000 through the City of Palm Springs Arts
Fund, the mural will stay up through December, commission chair Russell Pritchard told The Desert Sun.
Gorman, who turns 23 on Sunday, was the sixth -- and youngest -- poet to take part in a presidential swearing-in ceremony, continuing an intermittent tradition that began in 1961 when Robert Frost recited "The Gift Outright'' at John F. Kennedy's inauguration. The previous youngest poet was Richard Blanco, who was 44 when he read "One Today'' at Barack Obama's second inauguration in
Gorman was selected in 2014 as the first Los Angeles youth poet laureate and in 2017 as the first national youth poet laureate. She graduated last May from Harvard University with a degree in sociology.
Gorman has two books forthcoming, including her first children's book, "Change Sings,'' set to be published in September.
Gorman turned to writing at an early age in an attempt to cope with her speech impediment. At age 14, she joined WriteGirl, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization that helps teen girls discover the power of their voice through creative writing.
Throughout her high school years at New Roads School in Santa Monica,
Gorman attended WriteGirl's monthly creative writing workshops and was matched with writing mentors for one-on-one mentoring.
"WriteGirl has been pivotal in my life,'' she has said. "It's been thanks to their support that I've been able to chase my dreams as a writer.''