Located in the trees of Munn Park, painted animals caught the attention of many Lakelanders. The project started when David Collins wrapped a Munn Park tree with plastic wrap and painted a life-sized giraffe onto it. The giraffe imagery was chosen for two reasons: because the size makes it hard to miss and because, to Collins, the animal symbolizes sticking your neck out for what you believe in. In this case, that means sticking up for the arts in Lakeland, a cause that he has been invested in for many years now.
The process of creating these paintings took more than simply putting some paint on a tree. This is why Collins did a few test runs near is second home in North Carolina, using a bear as his subject matter. He didn’t want to permanently alter the tree or damage the bark, so it was first wrapped in a layer of plastic. Next, the plastic was painted to mimic the color and texture of tree bark. Finally, the animal got painted on.
The Munn Park tree also featured several other animals in addition to the giraffe, including an ostrich, snake, penguins, and an owl. Each animal was to scale, except for the snake, which is a bit longer than it would be in real life. Collins also did this to various other trees in other area.