Sunday, March 5, 2017

St Petersburg :: City of Murals

Life Reimagined by Sarah Sheppard
We recently spent a week down in Tampa and St. Petersburg Florida. I can't say that either of these places were anywhere near the top of my bucket list, but I have to admit that I was very pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed ourselves. We managed to have something planned for everyday we were there, which was a full 10 days. We did everything from aquariums, to museums, walking tours, amusement parks to zoos. My husband completely overbooked us, but my daughter and I willing tagged along from one place to the next. 

Xtreme Ethel by Derek Donnelly
For me the highlight was St. Petersburg. It's an artist enclave, or Florida's version of Portland, OR's NE Hawthorn street, or San Francisco's Noe Valley. Need I say more. I felt like I was at home in this eclectic little town. We took an afternoon to walk the murals just off Central Avenue. You just walk over to the alley off of 8th street to start the tour. It runs roughly another 4 blocks straight through the back alleys with one mural after another. The thing that captured me most was that this was an endless display of art, outside and open to the people. Art should be enjoyed, and this series is worth the walk. 

Snake Woman by Leon Bedore
I'm not sure if I could say which one was my favorite, although anyone who knows me knows just how much I love Frida. And yes, there was a mural of Frida smiling right at me. I did really love the one by Sarah Sheppard called Life Reimagined, which is about disrupting aging. She explains that the gears represent the grind of the working world. The woman is part Banyan tree that sinks its roots into the community and her arms reach out to the Phoenix. She is looking for her rebirth and what is to come next in life.

by Shark Toof 
As we started our tour, the first mural we saw was one of a skateboarding granny called Xtreme Ethel by Derek Donnelly. This mural depicts Ethel Percy Andrus in her 70s who was a woman ahead of her time. She was the first female school principal in California, and in retirement she found that too many talented older people were 'put out to pasture.' She wanted to change what it meant to age, so she created several associations (the most notable one being AARP in 1958) to empower older Americans to continue to pursue their passions with independence, dignity and purpose.  

Space Rainbows by Ricky Watts
Another mural I loved was Ricky Watts' trippy Space Rainbows. Ricky says that his art is "psychedelic, abstract eye candy." He says that public art brings energy to a community, which I have to agree with since this mural tour has people strolling from block to block down back alleyways as though they are wandering the halls of a museum. The art is all out in the fresh air with the sun shinning down on it. Perhaps that is why they decided to call the St Pete's Mural Festival SHINE. The city continues to encourage new editions to the collection and actively seeks out artists to paint more. I never thought I'd be drawn to a city based on street art, but I for one will want to return to this city of murals just to see what's been added to this outdoor collection. 

12 comments:

krishna said...

Amazing art pieces...

Natashalh said...

I really love the Art Reimagined piece - it feels Art Deco to me. Have you seen the murals in Miami? They have some neat ones in their art district, too.

JoJo said...

I love love love the space rainbows!

windrock studio said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, I have a sweet Aunt who has lived in St. Pete for many years ... happy you all had such a great visit.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

That's pretty awesome mural art! I especially like Space Rainbows!

Duni said...

I love wall art, but over here it is hard to find, perhaps Berlin.
The snake woman is fantastic!

Miss Val's Creations said...

How wonderful! I love when cities do this. There are many paintings downtown in my city on the old mill buildings. It is a treat for residents and visitors alike! I have not been to St. Petersburg. If we relocate to that area, it will definitely be on our list!

Magic Love Crow said...

Wow, amazing! I would love to go and see all of this!!! So cool! Every piece is so wonderful!!!

Annette said...

Now I want to go to St Petersburg! You don't see that in rural southern Maryland, but what a great way to bring a community together.

LisaS said...

Thanks for the brief art tour of Tampa/St. Pete. I have to say that Ricky Watts' trippy space rainbows looks amazing and would like to see it in person sometime. -Just might set off my vertigo! haha ;)

Chelsey said...

Oh, space rainbows is really cool!

Therese's Treasures said...

Cynthia,
I said it once and I will say it again, I love your travels. You are always going to the most interesting places. I love the murals they are beautiful and meaningful. I can not wait for you to share your next adventure.
Therese

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