Disney Cast Member Art Makes History

Disney Cast Member Art Makes History blog header

If you’re visiting Walt Disney World Resort, there’s a gorgeous addition to the Disney Springs Art Walk: A Canvas of Expression that’ll make you do a double-take and it’s historic. This is one of the few times in the history of the Art Walk, a cast member has created an installation and this particular piece of art has a fascinating story you should know about!  

Image of art at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, artist with mural

Cast member Marcella Swett’s artwork, which was completed just in time for Black History Month, is titled “Gullah Magic” and reflects the story of the Gullah people who are descendants of West and Central Africa and still reside in the South today. Marcella has Gullah heritage in her family and wanted to share this story to help people learn more about the culture, which spans the South, including in Florida. Elements of the Gullah culture can be found in the painting, such as the seagrass basket and grain of rice representing their art and traditions. You’ll also notice there are three faces in the painting symbolizing the past, present and future of the Gullah people. 

Image of art at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, full image of mural

Disney fans may already know about Marcella’s artistic talents, especially if they’ve been to Disneyland Resort during Black History Month, where her enchanting chalk art has been on display as part of Disney Parks’ “Celebrate Soulfully’’ offerings. The Disney Live Entertainment Senior Production Artisan was even featured in a Disney Parks Blog story in 2022

Image of art at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort, artist with mural and students

As a former art teacher, empowering local and future artists remains a passion point for Marcella who gave students from Osceola County School for the Arts an inside look at her painting process, sharing tips and tricks of the trade along the way. Unique opportunities like this are all part of our Disney Future Storytellers initiative and are representative of the many ways we’re empowering students to dream about their futures and build their talents and skills in distinctly Disney ways.

“I love seeing an artist take something personal to them and share it with everyone who sees their art,” said Osceola County teacher Trenton Corbett. “That is what I try to push my students to do as well – take things from their lives and put it into their art. Marci helped reinforce that what I teach goes beyond the classroom!”

With the artwork now complete, Marcella is among a select group of Black artists who have contributed to the Art Walk including Nneka Jones, Nardstar and Ernest Shaw. Each of their contributions displays what is most magical to them and invites art lovers from around the world to “Celebrate Soulfully’’ at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.