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Art in the news: SHINE begins the 2020 search for mural-friendly walls

Bill DeYoung



From Great Britain, Nomad Clan (Hayley Garner and Joy Gilleard) created this mural depicting the final moments of Spanish explorer Panfilo de Narvaez for SHINE 2018. Photo: Bill DeYoung

Jenee Priebe, who coordinates and directs the annual SHINE Mural Festival for the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, has issued a “Call for Walls” in conjunction with the sixth annual outdoor event, which is now scheduled for Nov. 7-14.

“It’s been difficult to plan,” she explains, “because we really don’t know what to expect come November. When the Grand Prix rescheduled (for October), it landed on what was supposed to be the final weekend of SHINE.

“We decided to reschedule later in the year in hopes the weather is better and Covid is even further behind us, hopefully. Thankfully, SHINE is fairly social-distance friendly anyways.”

Indeed, the local, regional, national and international artists who’ll be contracted will perform their painterly requirements in the fresh air, most of the time in observer-free solitude.

“We plan to take proper precautions for the artists, volunteers and everyone that comes out to enjoy the process,” Priebe says, “but being outdoors definitely helps. I think St. Pete will be more than ready for some brand new art by November. It’ll be a great reason to get out of the house and remember what we love about this city.”

The SHINE brain trust is looking for 12 walls for 2020 – half the number for a “typical” year – from business or property owners “within the seven arts districts of St. Pete,” according to Priebe, “although we’e open to moving outside that area if we can find enough good walls in a cluster.”

There are three major criteria for a SHINE wall: location, visibility and accessibility.

Priebe: “Location – At the end of the festival, we want people to be able to enjoy walking tours and biking tours. If the walls are too spread out, it’s not feasible.

“Visibility – If the wall isn’t visible from a road or even pedestrian traffic, it’s not ideal.

“Accessibility – This is one of the most difficult issues because there are so many walls in our ideal location with great visibility but they’re riddled with windows, doors, wires, poles, trees or other obstacles that make it very difficult for us to use.”

The hunt is on for walls – and accompanying sponsorships from the property owners. “We rely on sponsorships,” Priebe explains. “We never make any money off SHINE. The budget is tight.

“We always compensate every artist, but it’s not as much as they’d receive to do a commissioned piece. For that reason, we give them complete artistic freedom and a super-clean wall.”

The “Call for Walls” will go on through July (approximately). “That allows us enough time to invite an artist while having a particular wall already in mind for them,” says the event director.

“It helps to have a surplus, so we can offer more than one option if necessary or to have a backup wall for last minute changes. It’s never fun to be scrambling for walls weeks in advance when the paint has to be ordered and the lift has already been arranged.”

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Fresh grants

The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance’s six-year-old Individual Artist Grant Program is also in full swing for 2020. Established in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs, it awards $1,000 grants to artists in all disciplines.

Applicants are required to demonstrate “commitment to the art form through education, training or professional experience and must show evidence of exhibition, public performance or being published during the past two years,” according to the official application.

There are 20 grant recipients this year, up from the usual 15, because an anonymous donor kicked in $5,000 to sweeten the pot.

The winners for 2020 are abstract fiber artist Saumitra Chandratreya; playwrights Sheila Cowley and Bonnie Agan; videographer A.J. Vaughan; mural artists Daniel Barojas and Aurailieus; mixed media artists Nikki Devereux and Catherine Weaver; musician David Mason; photographic artist Jim Swallow; painters Julia Collver, John Gascot, Shelby Dillon, Margaret Juul; chapbook creator Mitzi Gordon; printmaker Rachel Stewart; postcard artist Sara Norine; composer/playwrights Tom Sivak and William Leavengood; and installation lighting artist Tess Oldfield.

News you can use

The Tampa Museum of Art will re-open fulltime (seven days a week) beginning at 10 a.m. Monday, June 1. Physical distancing is mandatory; masks are optional but encouraged.

Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration, the collaborative exhibition between the Museum of Fine Arts St. Petersburg, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Tampa Museum of Art and the USF Contemporary Art Museum, has been postponed until 2021. The 48 artists selected were announced in March.

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