Inspiration shines bright in the Sunshine City!
Being from Largo, St. Pete always seemed so far away, like a different world almost. I remember the days when if you were going to anywhere in Downtown St. Pete, it was mostly likely only to Jannus Landing or Club Detroit for a $5 punk rock show. There certainly wasn’t any other reasons to go there except, if you were underage you could buy beer at the Detroit Liquors. We would play in the fountain outside of Jannus and watch the drug deals around the corner. It was not a fun place to be.
Ah, 1988 my best friend Janice and I rode the bus from Largo to Club Detroit to see 7 Seconds and when my dad found out I went there, man was I in trouble. A year later seeing Red Hot Chili Peppers play with Faith No more, for $12! Can you imagine seeing either one of them for $12!!!!
As the years have gone by watching the development and growth has been exciting, frustrating, intriguing, inspiring and seems to push my drive a little more every time I adventure through the streets, the alleys and the neighborhoods of the Sunshine City.
The arts have truly transformed the entire city, and it’s great! I will admit to having feelings of envy with the intensity of the creative movement in St. Pete. Even though I am not a club-going, bar-hopping foodie, I am fascinated by the economic development of the downtown area. The growth is unbelievable. I do not get down there too often, but every time I am, there is something new to see, something new to experience! Whether it is a new mural, a new shop, a new restaurant, a bar, there is always something new happening! It is spellbinding to witness the community engagement, the steady flow of humans interacting in some fashion (even if taking selfies and posting to social media). The fact that you can walk from 34th Street on Central Avenue and have places to walk to all the way to the water. This to me is amazing. I wholeheartedly believe you have the artists to thank for that. And not the artists that got brought in from somewhere else to paint murals for the festival (which was a brilliant thing to do, in my opinion), but the veterans who paved the way, like Bill”Woo” Correira and Derek Donnelly and a few others several years in the making.
There is no better feeling than being in a creative place. As artists, we find each other and we create because it is our passion and through our passions we create a place…. one where people want to be. Soon after the art is there, everything else follows. People want to be surrounded by creativity, whether they know it or not. Art brings people. If you can’t see that with the complete transformation St. Pete has made, then you probably never saw the 600 block of Central Avenue boarded up. You likely never saw the same number of vacancies along Central Avenue like there currently is on West Bay Drive.
ART CHANGES EVERYTHING!
Take a chance with art. I dare you!