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Art news: New life for a bold mural; ArtWalk weekend

Bill DeYoung



Artist Cecilia Lueza re-painted her "Encounter" mural this week. Photos provided.

In 2018, St. Petersburg artist Cecilia Lueza created a mural at the entrance to the Warehouse Arts District’s ArtsXChange campus, on 22nd Street S. She titled the bright painted image of two birds – one blue, one red – Encounter.

Over time, however, the mural began to fade, “and the building was going through a lot of construction,” the Argentine American Lueza explains. “That kind of ruined the mural somehow, on top of the fading. It was looking really, really bad. As an artist, I don’t want my work to look like it’s falling apart.”

Finding the time to restore the oversized painting was difficult for the in-demand Lueza, who’s also a sculptor, not to mention the cost involved. “We’ve been talking about re-doing this for over a year,” Lueza says.

A National Endowment for the Arts grant, administered through Creative Pinellas, cleared the way. Lueza made time to do the restoration, and Encounter was completed – for the second time – this week.

“Another option was to replace the mural,” Lueza says. “To do a new one.”

But she, and ArtsXchange admins too, are “very fond of this one, so I decided to re-paint it.”


Second Saturday ArtWalk

The Easter Weekend edition of the Second Saturday ArtWalk includes, as it does every month, approximately 40 art galleries and artist studios open and expecting visitors. It includes the Central Arts District, Grand Central District, Warehouse Arts District, Uptown Arts District and downtown Waterfront District.

It’s a self-guided tour – you can start anywhere on the map – from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday, and the only rule is there really aren’t any rules (aside from the golden one, of course).

This means you can take the looper trolley, walk or drive anyplace, in any order, and there will be something to see, something to enjoy and appreciate, maybe even something to learn. Artists whose works are on display often turn up at the gallery for this night, which is put on by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.

Often, there will be beverages. And even something to munch on.

It’s a fun night out, and it focuses on the creative infrastructure of a city that values its artists and their art. No problem there.

Saturday Opening nights

Bula Barua Gallery (inside The Factory St. Pete): Opening night for “Love Letters to Melbourne” by Australian fine artist Wyllowe Espinosa. She uses a combination of spray paint, acrylics, oils and gestural techniques to layer the canvas with bold and bright colors.

Heiress Gallery (inside The Factory St. Pete): Opening night for “Botting” by painter Elliot Avis. The work explores narratives of identity and labor through the lens of fantasy gaming and digital avatars.

Soft Water Gallery (at the Warehouse Arts District ArtsXchange): Opening reception for “Mixed Messages: New Voices,” work by Lucy Barber, Edel Alvarez Galban, Helen Rosenkranz and Vlasta Smola.

Carter G. Woodson African American Museum: Opening night for Jane Bunker’s “A Brighter Path for Woodson Warriors.”

Morean Arts Center: Opening reception for “Fresh Squeezed” Emerging Artists in Florida.”

Morean Center for Clay: Opening reception for “Hold On,” sculptures by Andréa Keys Connell.

ArtLofts: Opening of “RATical,” a rat-themed art show at Brandy Stark Gallery; Lee West’s “In My Garden” debuts in the second floor gallery.

Woodfield Fine Art: The opening reception for David McCauley’s “Painted Pathways Have No Obstacles” will be held Friday, but the painter will also be on hand for the Saturday ArtWalk.




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  1. Avatar

    Scott Simmons

    April 7, 2023at10:36 pm

    Bill, it seems like the first article I read is usually one of yours. Thank for the info. Wish I could join the ArtWalk, but it is a long walk from San Miguel de Allende to St. Petersburg. Fortunately, there is a huge art and music scene here. One of the many reasons we moved here and one of the reasons SMA is often voted the Best City in the world. Come for a visit. Keep up the great work. It is appreciated. Trevor Neal sends his regards. Scott

  2. Avatar

    Susan Antoinette

    April 10, 2023at1:46 am

    Hi Bill,
    Of course I love the feature on Lueza and her restoration of Encounter but I also really love how you detailed out Art Walk highlights with all the SHOW OPENINGS going on! What a great central resource you’re written for April!

    Thanks much,

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