Orlando library honors graffiti artist Nic 707, who died of COVID, with free exhibition

Free ‘Instafame Phantom Art’ exhibition runs through Aug. 31

ORLANDO, Fla. – An Orlando library is getting some street cred with a new art exhibit featuring well-known graffiti artist Nic 707.

His family is displaying the pieces in Orlando to honor the artist who died from COVID-19.

Subway stop signs are posted throughout the library, including Grand Central Station and Times Square. They mark some of the locations where graffiti artist Fernando Miteff, also known as Nic 707, would display his work. After tagging trains and defacing property in the -70s and ‘80s, Nic 707 switched to a more temporary experience.

“He would take the plastic sign holders in train cars, paint things on them and set up pop-up galleries. He would wait for the train to stop, switch out all the ads for his art and stay there for this art movement experience, until the train arrived at his last stop and pulled the art down,” said Orange County Library System Community Outreach Coordinator Mike Donohue.

The pop-up galleries are credited for the growth of graffiti culture in New York City. Nic 707 mentored young and upcoming artists.

“He was an incredibly giving person. He wasn’t a fan of selling any of his work,” Donohue said.

In 2020, Nic 707 died from COVID-19 complications at the age of 60. His brother, Karim, kept his art alive by working with the Orange County Public Library System to curate the “Instafame Phantom Art” exhibition, bringing a piece of New York City to Orlando.

“Karim wanted to do right by his brother by honoring his legacy,” Donohue said. “This is probably the most exclusive show we’ve ever had and very few of these pieces have ever been seen in public before.”

You can check out the colorful and whimsical art displays for free at the downtown Orlando branch. The Orange County Library System offers art exhibits at many of its branches throughout the year, with new exhibits going up every couple months.

“We want something that’s engaging. Anyone can come and get a cultural enrichment out of what we’re showing. It also gives local artists an opportunity to display their art,” Donohue said.

Nic 707′s exhibit is free and runs through Aug. 31.

About the Author:

Crystal Moyer is a morning news anchor who joined the News 6 team in 2020.