According to Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, over 600 murals grace the Sunshine City’s corners, alleys, and streets. This Oct. 13-22, the city’s signature SHINE® St. Petersburg Mural Festival will add another 16 vibrant images to its ever-evolving outdoor museum, all part of its mission to revitalize city spaces, inspire dialogue, and unite communities.
SHINE Mural Festival, organized by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, is a unique opportunity to see art in action. Using the SPAA’s mural map, visitors can visit installation sites the week of Oct. 13-20 to watch muralists work. Or, they can take in the finished murals over the weekend of Oct. 21-22.
And the fun doesn’t stop there. This year’s festival features a craft beer release — playfully titled Spraycation — at Bayboro Brewing (Oct. 19). There will be a DARK/SPACE show featuring artists whose work draws from punk, metal, horror, and sci-fi subcultures (Oct. 21). SHINE number nine also corresponds with St. Pete’s monthly ArtWalk (Oct. 14). Five galleries will feature work from SHINE’s 2023 artists.
This year’s festival features 14 muralists, visiting from as far away as Australia or hailing from right here in Pinellas. Their styles vary widely. Bunnie Reiss (California), inspired by her Polish-Russian roots, creates folk murals trimmed with embroidery-like details in a carefully patterned arrangement. Artist Jones’ (Tampa) work is character-driven, highlighting hidden stories and influences of people of color with realistic figures and bold, dynamic backgrounds. For pure visual impact, the “liquid chrome” style of Dave Bonzai (United Kingdom) mirrors and magnifies in a magical way.
In addition to the 14 new murals, SHINE will also features handful of “Bright Spots.” These projects bring the community into the work of creating street art. Muralist Alyssa Marie of The Happy Mural Project will join the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida in creating a sunny “Girl Power” mural along Sixth Avenue South. Another artist, Chenlin Cai, is partnering with the James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. Cai will paint a mural extending the museum’s current exhibit on the lives of Chinese Americans on the American frontier.
Nine Years And Growing
Now in its ninth year, the festival has contributed more than 100 murals to the city scene since its inception in 2015.
This year also marks the start of a new partnership with festival sponsor Reflection St. Pete — an 88-residence condominium under construction along Third Avenue North, near Mirror Lake. HP Capital Group, the St. Petersburg-based developer behind Reflection, plans to sponsor next year’s festival and debut a four-story mural on the new building.
Rumor has it that year ten will also feature a retrospective book showcasing the full decade of SHINE murals.
But until then, walk, bike, or drive your way to through this unique St. Petersburg experience.
Arts All Around!
The Gabber Newspaper covers live theater and art across South Pinellas and, when we find something worth the drive, in the Tampa Bay and Sarasota areas.