It’s been more than two months since one of Gulfport’s most recognizable muralists, Keith Stillwagon, was first hospitalized and unable to return home. At a community vigil and fundraiser for his family Saturday, October 2, Stillwagon’s wife Michele reported that the artist is on the mend.
Michele, who had not been able to visit her husband for eight weeks, says he recently moved to a St. Petersburg rehab facility after beating COVID-19, which he contracted in the hospital.
“He’s still recovering, but he’s on the mend,” Michele said. “He’s feeling good for the first time in a while, and he’s anxious to come home.”
Originally, Stillwagon, 77, was admitted after overheating while painting one of his fantastical Florida murals.
The mural remains unfinished, much to Stillwagon’s dismay.
“He’s going to be the one to finish it,” Michele said, sitting not far from one of his works outside Liberty Tax Service on Saturday. “We were thinking of finding someone else to finish it and he just shook his head ‘No.’ As soon as he gets healthy…he’s determined.”
Gulfport Shows Up
Stillwagon’s friend, Jax Taylor, owner of Jax in and Out at 4928 Gulfport Blvd., hosted the event outside the restaurant.
The community turned out their full support, with a raffle and a kitchen full of food and desserts from both Pia’s Trattoria and Smokin’ J’s BBQ in Gulfport, along with donated local art for sale from artists such as Eagle Finegan.
“Everything here is donated from people in the community,” Taylor said while juggling a plate of Pia’s lasagna.
“[Keith] can’t believe all the community is doing,” said Michele. “Home is the next step.”