Florida’s Outdoor Building Murals Have Become Big Attractions

More and more Florida towns and cities of all sizes are recognizing that giant building murals not only can become attractions even in the least attractive areas of town, they also teach locals and visitors about the history and people of their community.

Lake Placid, down US27 on the slow road to Miami is so famous for its murals, there are guided tours and mural tour books for 45 major murals. Mural painting is a contagious art so there are not only independent artists springing up in the area, nearby towns like Sebring have started their own mural collection.

floridatravelerlakeplaciddrug mural

There is a door into this drug store but not here.

floridatraveler orangepickerslkplacid mural

Here a real door becomes a 3-D building.

My old town of Punta Gorda not only recovered from a direct hit by a 125 mph hurricane, the locals rejuvenated the downtown district, not just with new buildings, but added colorful murals both historic and entertaining.

floridatraveler mural on punta gorda

Entering the city you see the long-gone hotel and famous guests.

floridatraveler  puntagordaCattledrive-mural

Cattle drives again go down Marion Street to the docks.

Not all themes are old-fashioned or nostalgic.  Saint Petersburg has replaced its rustic green park benches with some wild murals that really pump up the Central Avenue Business District.  With the old pier temporarily being replaced, I guess these murals can be called new landmarks.

floridatraveler funkystpetemurals

Saint Petersburg Art Has Gone Big, Funny, Colorful.

floridatraveler stpetesebastiancoolidge

Sebastian Collidge Is One of St Pete’s top muralists.

The City of Jacksonville has developed a mural art program fostered by the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, utilizing local high schools artists to make murals for buildings like the downtown Florida Theater.

floridatravelerjacksonvilletheatre

My favorite Jacksonville muralist is Shaun Thurston’s whose themes usually require a little soul searching or deep thought.

floridatraveler jax-Frog-Street

This frog is supporting the whole world and mankind.

In case you think that major murals are simply a new art trend across the nation, here was one of the greatest murals ever painted in Florida.  It was the 1985 Richard Haas mural of the Fontainebleau seen right through an existing building.  Sad to say when they built a new Fontainebleau II condo hotel in 2002, the wonderful mural was torn down.

floridatraveler fontainbleaumural

Gone but not forgotten: the Fontainebleau Mural

A sad fact: when the building is torn down, the mural art will also go away.

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About floridatraveler

Historian and travel writer M. C. Bob Leonard makes the Sunshine State his home base. Besides serving as content editor for several textbook publishers and as college professor, he moderates the FHIC at www.floridahistory.org
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