Art is such an important facet of life in St. Petersburg, it’s as though the artwork has spilled out of museum and gallery walls, dotting sidewalks and parks. In the latest installment of the “Becoming the Burg” video series, historian Monica Kile explores the stories behind some of St. Pete’s publicly accessible sculptures.
“When I first thought about doing a video on St. Pete’s sculptures, I thought I’d be able to cover the vast majority of them,” Kile said, “But as I started to look around I realized that there are too many sculptures to fit into four minutes. I had to start with the oldest, but maybe the most curious; those worn figures that greet us in Straub Park.”
If you’ve ever wanted to know the origin stories of the Italian statues in Straub Park or the interesting meaning behind the giant red chairs next to the courthouse, Monica has dug up the details. You’ll meet the artist behind the soaring Benoist “First Flight” sculpture at the St. Pete Pier, the civil rights connection at Spa Beach’s net-like Bending Arc, and she’ll point out some pint-sized pieces of art scattered around downtown that even seasoned locals probably never noticed.
Becoming the Burg is a series of short videos that explore St. Petersburg’s lesser known history. It is funded in part by the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and many of the historic photos are provided courtesy of the St. Petersburg Museum of History. Released every other month, the series has explored the history of Central Avenue, the city’s forgotten cemeteries, the community’s literary gems, and St. Pete’s early influencers.
Monica Kile came to St. Petersburg in 2003 and earned her master’s degree in Florida Studies with a focus on heritage tourism. She is a familiar face on the local lecture scene and also hosts live virtual historic walking tours with I Love The Burg’s “History Half Hour.” Archived videos are available on I Love The Burg’s YouTube Channel.