5th annual SHINE Mural Festival opens in St. Pete

Downtown St. Petersburg is transforming into an open-air art gallery as the St. Petersburg Art Alliance’s SHINE Mural Festival returns today through Oct. 26.

The fifth annual festival features 21 local, five international, and four national artists who will begin painting today and finish by Saturday the 26th. There will be 16 mural walls painted in the downtown area and five community art projects.

In a new addition this year, the festival partners with Hawaii-based nonprofit PangeaSeed Foundation to produce Sea Walls: Artists for Oceans, which features two ocean conservation-themed murals.

Portland artists Blaine Fontana and Plastic Birdie will paint a Sea Walls mural, the largest mural of the festival, at Bama Sea Products along the Pinellas Trail. Local artists the Vitale Brothers will paint the second ocean-themed mural at Techno-Solis, 301 20th Street South.

“This is the first time we’ve partnered with the PangeaSeed Foundation, which has a public art program called sea walls Artists for Oceans,” SHINE coordinator Jenee Priebe says. “They do mural festivals all over the world. It is like a traveling mural festival any city that is close to water could host a Sea Walls festival with ocean conservation-themed murals.”

That partnership will also produce an Oct. 26th panel discussion at The Factory St. Pete, 2788 Fairfield Ave S., on the intersection of art, science, and advocacy. That discussion is one of several community events during the week and part of a grand finale event planned on the final day.

“We are doing a lot more events than we have ever done before,” Priebe says. “We’re doing a big block party finale on the 26th. For year five, which is our first big milestone, we wanted to go bigger and add more events to give more of that festival feel. A lot of people come out to watch the work on the murals and projects, but we wanted to give them something else to participate in other than watching the murals come together or going on a tour of all the completed murals. We wanted to have more ways for people in the community to engage with the festival and the street art culture and the public art concept.”

The community art projects this year include the Boys & Girls Club, the Gibbs High School Mural Club, and local artist Brian McAllister will produce a mural on the 134-foot-long wall of the Royal Theater that pays homage to the building’s history from its beginnings as a movie theater to its current-day use as the home of an arts-based after school program for local youth.

In the first four years of SHINE, approximately 72 murals have gone up downtown. Priebe says only a handful are gone, most of them lost to construction.

For more information on the festival, including a schedule of events, please follow this link: SHINE Mural Festival.

Read more articles by Christopher Curry.

Chris Curry is a freelance writer living in Clearwater. Chris spent more than 15 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily in Ocala and Gainesville, before moving back home to the Tampa Bay Area. He enjoys our local music scene, great weather, and Florida's wealth of outdoor festivals.