Downtown Clearwater Will Be Transformed With Five Murals

The walls of Downtown Clearwater will soon be transformed.

The city’s Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has hired five teams of muralists to convert five buildings by adding majestic colors and artistic designs that will enhance, enrich and excite Downtown Clearwater. In partnership with five downtown property owners, the CRA has commissioned murals that tell the story of Downtown Clearwater’s past, present and future from different points of view.

Three muralists are from the Tampa Bay region, one is from Gainesville, Fla., and one team is from Uruguay. The muralists will start their work on Nov. 19 and continue through December. The goal is to complete all the murals by the end of January.

Four of the buildings are privately owned, and one building is owned by the city of Clearwater. The city’s CRA staff worked with the Downtown Development Board, the Public Art and Design Board, the property owners and the artists to collaborate and choose unique mural designs.

After receiving more than 100 applications from local, domestic and international muralists, the organizations chose the muralists.

• Justin McAllister and the Gibbs High School Mural Club of St. Petersburg will design and paint the mural at the Flag Company, 1360 Cleveland St., Clearwater. They plan to start Nov. 19.

• Florencia Durán and Camilo Nuñez of Uruguay will design and paint the mural at the city’s Garden Avenue Garage, 28 North Garden Ave., Clearwater. The mural will cover several stories of the parking garage. They plan to start Nov. 20.

• The husband-and-wife team of Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol of Tampa will design and paint the mural at Creative Contractors, 620 Drew St., Clearwater. They plan to start Nov. 25.

• Cecilia Lueza of St. Petersburg will design and paint the mural at a commercial property at 512 Cleveland St., Clearwater. She plans to start on Nov. 30.

• Julia Morrisroe of Gainesville, Fla., will design and paint the mural at Clearwater Tower Parking Garage, 33 North Garden Ave. The mural will cover several stories of the parking garage. Morrisroe will begin her work in December. A specific start date hasn’t been set.

“The murals will not only improve the visual appearance of downtown, but they will celebrate the nuance, complexity and diversity that exists among the residents and businesses here,” said Amanda Thompson, the city’s CRA director.

About the muralists:

• Justin McAllister is an illustrator, muralist and visual arts instructor at the Pinellas County Center for the Arts at Gibbs High   School. He has painted murals across the United States and even overseas. Five years ago, he initiated a collaborative public art project with students and community organizations on the island of Saipan. He believes public art provides a platform to share information about history and culture with visitors and local residents.

• Florencia Durán and Camilo Nuñez, who live in Uruguay and paint under the moniker Colectivo Licuado, have painted murals in capital cities and in small towns in different parts of the world. They are inspired by traveling and encountering new cultures and customs. Their artistic themes are cultural diversity, women and inspiring stories. They are highly influenced by classic art, where they take references of composition, lighting, poses and clothing.

• Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol are a husband-and-wife team who work out of Tampa under the moniker Illsol. The name Illsol combines the names of Sawyer and Krol and references the Spanish word for sun. It also pays homage to Sawyer’s Cuban heritage. Their work together is in the realm of large murals and installation projects in which final pieces are subtly textured with overlaying clear images and bold lines.

• Cecilia Lueza is an Argentinian-born visual artist who is known for her vibrant public art pieces in a range of mixed media. Her geometric and natured inspired murals can be found in unexpected locations, including rooftops and street intersections. Lueza’s work is a personal expression of her lifelong fascination with the visual effects of color and the concepts of space, movement and transition. She resides in St. Petersburg.

• Julia Morrisroe is an artist and writer whose work has been exhibited internationally. Morrisroe’s abstract visual language examines the flood of images and information (relevant or not) to expose the impossibility of meaning in this oversaturated environment through installations, murals, prints and clusters of painting. Morrisroe is an associate professor in painting and drawing at University of Florida.

For more information on the mural project in Downtown Clearwater or to interview the artists, contact Anne Lopez, the CRA’s program specialist, at (727) 562-4039 or or José Patiño, city of Clearwater public information specialist, at (727) 562-4664 or