Tampa Bay Born Murals is a video series from I Love the Burg and That’s So Tampa that is made possible by Neptune Flood Insurance CEO Trevor Burgess and his husband, Gary Hess, in partnership with Metro Inclusive Health. Just as the diverse palette of murals throughout the Bay highlight the colorful personality and history of the area, this series aims to shine a light on the artists who bring those works to life.
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In this storytelling video series, Tampa Bay Born Murals will feature the personal stories behind local artists, many of whom are persons of color, LGBTQ+ and/or women who are breaking through in a historically non-inclusive industry. Art is expression, and in it comes an opportunity to promote social justice, equity, and opportunity for all.
While arts and culture is a booming industry, it comes with a severe lack of representation by the cultures that inspire it. According to a study by Williams College in 2019, 85.4% of collections in major US museums are by white artists, and 87.4% are by men. Asian artists total 9%, Hispanic/Latinx 2.8%, and Black/African American artists account for only 1.2% of featured works.
This series will showcase the diverse array of emerging artists here in the Sunshine City and provide background information not only on the stunning pieces these artists have completed, but also the creator’s journey into the visual arts. These murals tell our community’s story, providing historical context to past events, and often serving as a call to action, as seen when more than a dozen Tampa Bay artists came together in 2020 to create the Black Lives Matter street mural outside the Dr. Carter G Woodson African American Museum.
St. Petersburg is recognized as an open-air art gallery on view to the public 24/7. We take in this tapestry daily, passing countless pieces whether on our commute to work, or out for a bike ride down the Pinellas Trail. But what do we know about how they arrived there, and more importantly, what do we know about the talented artists behind them?
Tampa Bay Born Murals is a storyteller series that will deepen the appreciation for the mammoth and marvelous works where we live, while also celebrating the creative artists who make our city so colorful.
Leo Gomez paints positivity in colorful hand-lettered murals across the region
You can find the brilliant work of Leo Gomez and his studio across almost every district in St. Petersburg, Florida. His murals radiate positivity and life in sunset hues. His trademark lettering and hand-painted signs adorn some of our favorite businesses in the area.
Artist Jones creates vibrant inspirational pieces to explore history and culture
Artist Jones’ first mural in Tampa Bay can be found at 901 7th Ave S in St. Pete on the exterior of Brookwood Florida. A part of the SHINE Mural Festival Unity project in 2022 with members of the community and girls from Brookwood. It brings the message “Always Forward Together” to all who pass by.
Ya La'Ford mesmerizes and inspires with geometric masterpieces
A first-generation Jamaican American artist, Ya La’Ford hopes that viewers take away a universal language from her work. One that makes you think about how to affect change and is a catalyst that makes you want to empower all those around you.
Cecilia Lueza is a magical Argentine-American artist and sculptor who brings. Her latest work at Avanti St. Petersburg in the downtown City of St. Petersburg, Florida “IDILIO AZUL” is a deep breath of serenity. Her ground murals at North Shore Park and at the intersection of Central Ave and 5th St are a kaleidoscope of color created with help from volunteers in our community during SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival.
Jason Harvin, aka Wayward Walls, wants his work to be a beacon of hope, progress, and redemption. But Harvin understands that meaning is in the eyes of the beholder. If nothing else, the artist wants his work to give any passerby a moment of quiet contemplation.
Reid Jenkins is a multidisciplinary artist. He paints, he illustrates, he’s a tattoo artist at Ink Werkz, and he is a muralist with pieces across the Sunshine City. Jenkins aims to paint the human experience, and the experience of those seldom seen in the ‘Burg “Artists are a reflection of their communities,” said Jenkins.
Cheryl Weber, JUJMO, brings happy, intertwined worlds to the Sunshine City
JUJMO brings her affinity for color to life through drawings and paintings of happy, intertwined worlds. Fanciful, cartoonish, and strange creatures collide in her densely patterned compositions on walls, canvases, and even shoes and cars. Read the full story!
Chad Mize brightens more than walls
Artist Chad Mize is a prolific muralist here in the Sunshine City. His Twiggy Mural has captivated residents and visitors for the better part of a decade. His work branches beyond walls. Mize’s art has been incorporated by the Tampa Bay Rays, St. Pete Pride, and Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority. Read the full story!
Jabari Reed-Diop, aka iBOMS, paints a new narrative in St. Pete
His work features themes of self-love, destructions and discovery. The vibrant, alluring, and meticulously detailed works draw in myriad observers. While the works themselves are meant to be appreciated and interpreted by all, the artist himself hopes to give his community a lens into the experience of an African American male here in the Sunshine City. Read the full story!
Nneka Jones is a an activist artist working in the Tampa Bay region. They are renowned for their embroidery work, and paintings, and have earned national acclaim for their work. Recently, Jones completed a mural with Bianca Burrows in the Grand Central District of St. Petersburg as part of the SHINE Mural Festival. Read the full story!
Stay tuned for more Tampa Bay Born Murals series updates!
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