The memorial to victims of the collapsed Champlain Towers South building was left in disarray after intense windy rainstorms blew through Miami and flooded streets in recent days.
The colorful flowers laid next to markers with victims' names and others pushed through a chain-link fence bearing residents' photos have turned into a pile of stems and mushy petals. Personal objects left there — stuffed animals, books, prayer candles, children's drawings, a bicycle, shoes and even a diploma — have become waterlogged.
The intense weather typical of summer in South Florida has made it difficult for Leo Soto and two other artists who are working on projects to memorialize the victims of the deadly building collapse. Soto has struggled in the wind and rain to clean and maintain the tributes many people have left for the victims. Meanwhile, Roberto Marquez, a painter from Dallas, and Kyle Holbrook, a street artist and muralist in Miami, are working to paint public tributes commemorating the tragedy.
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All of them said they remained committed to finishing and maintaining their work.
"It just became very relatable and personal to me," said Soto, a Florida Institute of Technology student. "I was looking at all these names and seeing people that looked like my mom, my grandma, so I just wanted to help. And the memorial just took on a life of its own after that."