SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival 2021:
Let’s Paint the Town!
by Chris Kuhn
Locals and visiting neighbors are invited to witness an artistic transformation. Sixteen artists from around the nation, across the world and others right here at home take their talents to the streets and walls of St. Petersburg as part of the 7th Annual SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival which runs October 15-24, 2021. With the support of Presenting Sponsors, The City of St. Petersburg and The Florida Department of Arts and Culture, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance has been the primary driver of this massive public art event from the start which culminates in 16 new murals to grace the arts districts and downtown locales in an effort to engage, inspire and connect the community through art. (Feature image above from the 2017 Shine Mural Festival Mikael B.
“This year, our goal was to get back to what we traditionally do with SHINE, which is no theme and a balance of international, national and local artists,” says Jenee Priebe, Associate Director for the SHINE® Mural Office of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. “International travel is still difficult to navigate so our roster leans heavier on national artists. It’s a great lineup and does include some returning artists like Greg Mike and Ricky Watts.”
This year’s festivities kick off with a special event held at Bayboro Brewing and sponsored by Sunnyside on Saturday, October 16 to coincide with the release of “Spraycation,” a strawberry, orange and passionfruit-based ale brewed in support of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and its award-winning festival. The event runs from 2:00 p.m. to 11 p.m. and features vintage cars, live music, live tattoo art, locally crafted beers and an opportunity to watch one of this year’s SHINE murals in progress. The event is free but $5 donations are encouraged to support the Alliance’s SHINE Mural Festival.
The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance is a non-profit dedicated to advocating for the arts. Through its programs, events, and fundraising efforts, it works toward driving arts-related economic development in St. Petersburg by creating and promoting strategies and initiatives that support area artists, arts organizations, and creative businesses. The SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival is one such event that helps boost the city’s existing reputation as a vibrant arts destination. It is an invitational art exhibition and covers travel expenses, lodging and paint for each artist, as well as provides a stipend for their work. This past April and May, the Festival’s Curating Committee chose which established artists would be invited and announced a call to local artists in the summer. This year, 47 local artists applied for the coveted spots available. Information about this year’s participating artists is available on the event web page. (Left: 2020 SHINE® Mural Festival by IBOMS)
Artist to Participate in this Year’s 7th Annual SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival:
This year’s group of mural artists is comprised of two international, seven national and ten local artists who have been commissioned to add a total of 19 new murals to the St. Petersburg area’s art districts. These artists include the following: INTERNATIONAL – Case Maclaim (Germany) and Gleo (Colombia); NATIONAL – Greg Mike (Atlanta, GA), Ricky Watts (San Francisco, CA), Mwanel Pierre-Louis (Miami, FL), Emily Ding (Houston, TX), Bakpak Durden (Detroit, MI), Woes Martin (Los Angeles, CA) and Nicole Salgar (Miami, FL); and LOCAL– Jenipher Chandley (St. Pete), Jared Wright (Tampa Bay), Jason Harvin (Tampa Bay), Miss Crit (St. Pete), Michael Fatutoa (Tampa Bay), Reid Jenkins (St. Pete) and Open Call winner Aurailieus Artist (St. Pete).
Three local artists will be taking part in special mural projects with specific objectives as part of the Festival’s “Bright Spot Projects” designed to engage and inspire the community. Tampa artist Jujmo (RIGHT-portion of a mural in Downtown St. Pete by Jujmo) leads a week-long Mural-Making course for the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation art club. St. Pete’s Leo Gomez will create a mural and be joined by Bayfront providers who will offer painting support on a tribute piece saluting local frontline medical workers including Bay area doctors, nurses and other hospital staff members who have continued to care for their community in the face of Covid-19. Finally, Bay area artist Ya La’ford will design an illuminated neon sign to showcase love and positivity as part of The Love Line Project, with a phrase on display to be voted on by the public.
More information about this year’s participating artists as well as these special local mural projects is available on the event web page. Click here to get a closer look at those artists who will be adding their own brushstrokes to St. Petersburg.
Over its previous six years, the SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival has produced 110 murals throughout downtown and St. Petersburg’s arts districts. This is in addition to another 500 outdoor and indoor murals that exist in the area. “St. Petersburg has become known for its murals. We have such a robust art scene here including world class museums, but the murals are often the first art you see, which sends a clear message that this is a City of the Arts before even stepping foot in a museum or gallery,” Priebe says. (Right 2019 SHINE® Mural Festival Princess Smith.)
To celebrate the city’s rich artistic thumbprint, the Festival has developed a free PixelStix app available for download which offers art lovers an interactive map of murals and their locations throughout St. Pete. (Click here for more information about downloading the app.) The SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival also offers an accessible audio tour enabling visitors touring the city by foot, bike, or other transportation to not only get an up-close look at the public art canvassing the city but to hear stories behind the artists and their murals. (Left 2018 SHINE® Mural Festival by Cecilia Lueza.)
A map outlining this year’s new mural locations will be available on the Festival web page closer to mural start time so visitors can make plans to see firsthand the artistic process in motion. “We encourage people to grab a map, plan a route, and visit the murals while they’re in progress. Each artist has a different style and technique as to how they approach their work. It’s incredible to watch the murals unfold from start to finish,” Priebe says. “Watching the progress really gives you an appreciation for the work and skill that goes into muralism. And if you have a chance to meet the artist, it creates an even deeper connection to the art. (Right: 2015 SHINE® Mural Festival by Ricky Watts. Called Eye of the Storm.)
Festival organizers are following the latest CDC Guidelines regarding COVID-19 to ensure the health and safety of both the artists and visitors who might stop by from the community. Face coverings over the nose and mouth are strongly recommended to enter or remain on mural premises. In addition, individuals should maintain social distancing protocols of six feet distance as much as possible, even with the use of face coverings. Other safety measures are in place for the artists to support a safe working environment and stay while they visit the St. Petersburg area. (Left Mwanel Piere Louis for SHINE® 2021).
Priebe has one last piece of advice for art lovers organizing their own tour to see as many of the murals across town as possible: “I highly recommend biking as the best mode of transportation!”
For more details about this year’s SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival, visit the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s web page devoted to the event by clicking here. Art aficionados can follow along with this year’s Festival at the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter accounts. All artwork courtesy of previous year’s SHINE® St. Pete Mural Festival,