St. Pete and Tampa are already well-known for their support of the arts, but you don’t often hear about about what places like Clearwater are doing. That is, until now.
In 2018, the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) in Clearwater established a program to develop murals within an area from the waterfront to Highland Ave., and Drew to Court St. The goal was to place murals not only on municipal buildings, but private businesses as well. Four murals were created as part of what they consider Phase 1.
“It was a very successful program and very well received. We wanted to bring vibrance and engaging murals to downtown to enliven the space and allow for a visual break, bringing artwork where it wasn’t expected,” says Christopher Hubbard, the Cultural Affairs Coordinator of the City of Clearwater.
Phase 2 of the program started in 2020, where the CRA selected 3 artists out of 190 applicants from all over the country: Texas-based DAAS, local artist Cecilia Lueza, and MJ Lindo-Lawyer out of California. DAAS recently completed his mural at 701 Franklin St., depicting an ikebana flower arrangement called “Lily, Periwinkle & Jatropha.” Lueza’s piece “Summertime” can be driven on, as it has been recently painted at intersection of Cleveland and Garden Ave. Lindo-Lawyer’s mural will start the week of July 19 and will be on the other side of the 701 Franklin building from DAAS’ piece.
There may even be the potential for more phases of this program as space permits. One way the CRA is doing this is by creating an Artist and Business Forum
on the Downtown Clearwater website to connect private property owners with interested muralists for artistic collaborations.
Even tech is being included in their public art, like with the mural “Comunidad” at the Garden Ave. parking garage. The CRA partnered with USF to create an augmented reality app so audiences can interact live with the mural and see portions of it move around.
“What we want to do is make Clearwater an artist-friendly city by commissioning murals and sculptures for public artwork. It’s so cool to get a view into the future of how we will interact with art and tech, and the impression it can make on people,” Hubbard says. “We want to make artists and citizens know they are welcome here. We’re really glad to be a part of this program and excited to brighten up the city with art.”
Find out more about the Downtown Clearwater Mural Program