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‘Murals in Mind’ promotes positivity and wellness

Bill DeYoung



"Nowness is the Portal," by Laura (Miss Crit) Spencer at Absolutely Beautiful Flowers, 3000 Central Ave. Photo provided.

As if standing in front of the city’s many murals and reveling in their immenseness and beauty wasn’t enough, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance has added a new X factor to make the experience even more memorable. Starting today, 12 existing murals, created during one SHINE Mural Festival or another, have been embedded with technology that will bring up, via a phone app, specially-created videos with music, poetry and other meditative messages of positivity.

The ”gallery” is called Murals in Mind, and according to Arts Alliance CEO Terry Marks, it’s not meant to be therapy, just therapeutic.

“The way to lift spirits from loneliness, depression, anxiety and stress is to continue to utilize art as a healing tool,” she said in a news release. “Murals, music, dance, drama, poetry communicate and lift our outlook towards hope and happiness.”

The app technology was created by the St. Pete company PixelStix, which has a long history with the Arts Alliance’s self-guided mural tours. The videography is by Sunsation Media.

Paige Dickinson, Associate Professor of Human Development at Eckerd College (trained in trauma and art therapy) was a consultant.

“This project,” said Marks, “was conceived through the passion and understanding of the power of art to heal.”

The collaborations are, in and of themselves, creatively intriguing:

Musicians Jeremy Douglass and Colleen Cherry perform a song about gratitude – things to be grateful for – at Leo Gomez’s mural “Can’t Thank You Enough”;

At Cecelia Lueza’s mural “The Blue Hour,” St. Petersburg poet laureate Gloria Munoz reads an empowering piece over a music bed composed by her husband, La Lucha’s Mark Feinman;

“Nowness is the Portal,” a mural by Laura (Miss Crit) Spencer is connected to a poem by Anastasia Wirick, performed by Bob Devin Jones;

Choreographer Alexander Jones and saxophonist Jeremy Carter created a dance/music piece to go with Zulu Painter’s “Wisdom, Growth, Progress.”

Other participants include Ya La’Ford, Helen Wallace, Your Real Stories, John Huls and Jay Hoff, Crimes of the Heart actress (and poet) Shelby Ronea, Jujmo, the Perkins Elementary School Steel Pan Band, Keep St. Pete Lit, St. Pete Youth Farm and more.

For more information, including the locations of all Murals in Mind stops, click here.

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