The murals along the Pinellas Trail are different than the larger works painted on buildings. These murals are painted on low concrete bumpers that stretch along the Trail, beginning near the intersection of 20th Street South and 3rd Avenue South, and angling northeast toward downtown.
The Pinellas Trail is a former railroad track converted to a smooth concrete walking, jogging and biking trail. It starts near Tropicana Field and continues 47 miles, from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs. These bumpers, two feet high, mark the sides of the trail as it cuts past the backsides of businesses, covering a city block 564 feet long.
You’ll find murals and artwork by Chad Mize all over St. Petersburg. For this project, Chad and muralist James Oleson invited ten students from St. Petersburg’s Gibbs High School, the Pinellas County Center for the Arts. Ten professional artists worked with the students, as they covered what used to be bare and boring concrete bumpers with colorful Florida-themed art.
The colors are a tourist’s dream of Florida, bright gold and red and orange, and aqua blue. Seagulls, sun, sand castles, palm trees, flowers, pelicans and sea creatures decorate this knee-high string of murals influenced by the hip retro aesthetic that Chad Mize is known for.
Some bumpers sport images, like manatees in shower caps. Some look like old-fashioned advertisements for St. Petersburg, with slogans like, In the Sun We Are One. Many include variations on the word, SHINE, for the SHINE Mural Festival. Like, Rise and Shine, with biplanes flying. Or Shine St Pete painted on the lenses of big sunglasses.
One reads, Our City Our Home. And another is completely covered with, St. Petersburg, in many colors. One says, You Are My Sunshine City. And one is just plain gold, with a small wild tree actually growing in front of it.
The only bumper that looks distinctly different is a close-up of a giant reddish face with staring eyes and a bulbous nose, a trademark creation of artist James Oleson of the Bloom Art Center.
Runners, walkers and bikers get a blast of color on this section of the Trail, and a visual cheer of St. Petersburg pride.
This colorful section of the Pinellas Trail leads to the intersection of 19th Street South and 2nd Avenue South. Just across 19th Street the Trail continues and the bumpers change to grey covered in intricate black drawings, then in big, bold capital letters 2 feet high, the words, Love, Heal, Sun, Nature, Art and Spirit. Love is red. Heal is orange. Sun is yellow. Nature, green. Art is blue and Spirit, purple. The words are painted in the red, orange, gold, green, blue and purple of the LGBT rainbow flag – each word painted in the color that it represents.
This section of the trail was a project headed by Chad Mize, and sponsored by the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.
The grey bumpers before and after these colorful words are covered in simple black outlines of sailboats and palm trees, hearts, the Earth, waves, the sun and cartoon creatures. These images surround phrases like, Travel is Good, Connect, You Can Make a Difference and St Pete. All Genders Welcome, hashtag Orlando Pulse and hashtag Sail Together. Below two big open eyes are the words, Free to Be You and Me, and World! with a heart around it.
A conversation with Chad Mize and Creative Pinellas – creativepinellas.org/magazine-items/arts-in-chad-mize
A conversation with James Oleson and Creative Pinellas – creativepinellas.org/magazine-items/arts-in-james-oleson