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SHINE wraps up; St. Pete just got a little more colorful

Bill DeYoung

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Drew Merritt's mural at Barkett Realty, 551 Dr. MLK Street N. All photos by Bill DeYoung, unless noted.

Travel snafus and the requirements of a jam-packed schedule kept Mexican artist Paola Delfin from arriving in St. Petersburg until a few days into the 2019 SHINE Mural Festival. One of five international artists on this year’s roster, Delfin is known – and revered the world over – for her black and white murals of women’s faces, as lifelike as charcoal sketches on an illustrator’s pad, but oversized and endearingly soulful.

Paola Delfin at work at Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, 1975 3rd Avenue S. Photo by Amy Kagan.

By the time Delfin began work, most of the other 20-plus muralists were already putting on the finishing touches.

SHINE officially ended with Saturday night’s Finale event at The Factory (in the Warehouse Arts District), where an estimated 1,500 people came to honor the successful conclusion of the Arts Alliance of St. Petersburg’s fifth annual celebration and demonstration of permanent public art.

Work by Taj Tenfold at FRS Team By Rogers, 1720 Central Ave.

Each year, SHINE puts a new coat of paint on St. Pete, and the world has taken notice: For the first time, Visit St. Pete Clearwater was a marketing sponsor of the event.

There are now 93 SHINE-produced murals in the city, according to event director Jenee Priebe – and several hundred others created independently, or with the cooperation of local businesses.

“I think the murals in general have become an important part of the St. Petersburg experience,” Priebe says. “We’re becoming more and more known for the art here. People know the museums are here, and that there are more coming – but you have to seek those things out.

Work by Low Bros. (detail) at NOVA, 535 Dr. MLK Street N.

“I think they know that St. Petersburg is a city of the arts, but then when they come here and they can see that without really even trying – when it’s in your face – then the murals are becoming a big part of what the St. Pete experience is.”

While all the other artists have packed up their spray cans and paintbrushes and gone home – even those who live and work in the bay area – Delfin was still at work Sunday afternoon, putting her unmistakable stamp on the western wall of Batdorf & Bronson Coffee Roasters, at 1975 3rd Avenue S.

Work by Morning Breath (detail) at Coney Island, 250 Dr. MLK Street N.

Soon enough, she too will finish up and fly out, the paint will dry, and the Arts Alliance will officially put the cap on SHINE 2019.

Until next year – cheers!

Taj (Francis) Tenfold visits Paola Delfin on site.

Evolution of a mural

St. Petersburg’s Vitale Brothers took less than six days to start and complete this stunning mural, funded by the PangeaSeedFoundation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at Techno Solis, 301 20th Street S.:

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    Cesar Quevedo

    October 29, 2019at12:01 pm

    When are they going to do a mural that celebrates St. Pete’s Soccer culture& the Rowdies?!?! It’s about time! !!

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