1. I was surprised at how large an area of the city is designated the Arts District. Scroll down to see the map.
2. I was surprised by the volume of public art on building exteriors and in alleys.
When I inquired about this, wanting to know how many of these very high profile murals were generated by public money, the answer was "very little." Much of it was produced by volunteers. Eventually international competitions were organized with funding available to pay artists who were incentivized to come from elsewhere to leave their marks.
3. I was surprised at how relatively new this St. Petersburg Arts District was. The official designation was given in 2012.
4. I was not surprised at how vibrant this part of the city felt as I meandered through its galleries and shops.
7. The St. Petersburg Arts District is an official organization with an extensive website and membership requirements. The organization is an official non-profit 501(c)3. Here in Duluth a valiant effort was made to organize artists and the various arts organizations under the rubric Twin Ports Arts Align. The efforts were stalled at a critical juncture. (Should we become a non-profit? Perhaps we need a paid staff member or members?) Special shout-out to Bill Payne and Crystal Pelkey. Thank you for your sharing your vision and the sacrifices you made.*
* * * *
Well here are are some of the many murals I saw on Saturday:
* There were really many others who served sacrificially. I can't list them all because I would leave out someone significant. Everyone who was there will agree that Bill and Crystal deserve this special recognition.