“I told him what I envisioned, and gave him a great deal of latitude,” said Boulevard Shoppe owner Drue Raylean. “He did some designs on paper and I saw them and just let him go.”
The mural, complete with dogs, deer, guitars and musical cherubs, was finished in late October, according to Raylean. It wasn’t until Saturday, November 17, that the mural, along with a small outdoor garden, was officially opened to the public and announced with a ribbon cutting.
“I always knew we would have a mural,” Raylean said. “I told him, ‘Just as long as we have lots of critters.’”
The art covers both walls of the courtyard and will fill the outside of the building when Phelps returns from North Carolina in the spring.
“I think it’s inviting to people and just really gives a nice look,” said Boulevard Shoppe manager Mike Hogan. “It’s relaxing to look at while their having tea.”
The area that the mural surrounds includes a small, blooming garden as well as outdoor tables that are open for visitors to enjoy tea and finger foods from Sweet Tea Celebrations.
“The whole courtyard is special,” Raylean said. “I think our shop is unusual, and this really pulls it together.”
The shop, located at 3521-5325 Gulfport Blvd S. opened in 2012 and will now accept the work of local artists.
“We would like to see if people would, with a small commission, like to show off their art here,” Hogan said. “Whether it be sculptures, paintings, whatever.”