Last night, while most of us were sleeping, a group of artists, LGBTQ leaders and city officials in St Pete gathered to paint a progressive pride mural in Grand Central District. Eleven brilliant stripes were painted at the intersection of 25th St and Central Avenue in St Petersburg, Florida.
A partnership with St Pete Pride, the community-funded project raised $7,690.00 to cover the cost of installation and maintenance for years to come.
The installation of the mural was overseen by local lesbian artist Andrea Pawlisz of The Fresh Art Studio. Both The Queens Head Eurobar and the Old Key West Bar & Grill provided electricity and water. Other project participants included:
- Jim Nixon (Metro Welcome Center Manager and LGBTQ Liaison to Mayor Rick Kriseman)
- David Perkins (Owner, Gulfport Guy Household Services)
- D Chrys Bundy-Brennan (President, St Pete Pride)
- Robert Brennan-Bundy (Husband to President, St Pete Pride)
- Juliane Montoya
- Brian Longstreth (Owner, Gay St Pete House and Former Owner of Punky’s Bar & Grill)
- Thompson Davis Kellett (Founder & Organizer at St.Pete Art Mash)
- Derek Bailey (LGBTQ Artist)
- Chad Mize (LGBTQ Mural Artist)
- Gina Gibbs
- Kate M Thorpe-Eddleman
- Jim Woodfield (Owner, Woodfield Fine Art)
- Rick Kriseman (Mayor, St Petersburg)
- Bob Ribits (LGBTQ Artist)
- Ryan Williams-Jent (Tampa Bay Bureau Chief at Watermark)
Mural Purpose and History
St. Petersburg LGBTQ Liaison Jim Nixon approached St Pete Pride with an initial design for the project, having worked with other city officials on installation approval, permitting and more.
Gilbert Baker’s six stripe flag has been the internationally recognized symbol of the LGBTQ community for the last 42 years, in the particular form of a flag with six distinct colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.
The Progress Flag’ designed by Daniel Quasar in 2018, features black and brown stripes to represent people of color, and baby blue, pink and white to include the trans flag in its design. And it is all part of a drive to be more inclusive of the expansive breadth of identity within the community.
When asked why the 11-striped flag mural design was selected for this location, Jim Nixon says, “It is important that we recognize the LGBTQ community and the Grand Central District for their contributions in making our city a diverse and welcoming community. But we cannot do that without recognizing intersections within the LGBTQ+ community and honoring LGBTQ+ people of color, whose activism inspired the very first Pride, as well as different gender identities.”
Nixon continued, “I’d like to think that recent events the world has faced have allowed for a refocusing of our attention on the issues affecting those most vulnerable. So, the use of progressive colors, hopefully, means increased awareness of intersecting forms of oppression, and therefore the need for intersectional inclusion. Movements are benefiting from this, for example, the Black Lives Matter movement, and so, of course, there has been cross-pollination to the LGBTQ+ movement where finally queer trans people of color (QTPOC) and our issues are being recognized.”
Grand Central Pride District
The Grand Central District was the birthplace of St Pete Pride and the original Gayborhood in St Pete. So it seems fitting that the pride street mural be painted proudly in its center at at 25th Street and Central Ave.
The placement of this mural, “anchors its history and celebrate the vision that in St. Pete we recognize that our differences, what we look like, who we pray to, who we love…that’s what makes our country great. That’s what makes St. Pete shine,” says Nixon.
As a community of progress and a hub for those relocating from northern climates, St Petersburg, Florida is home to people of all backgrounds, races, religions, nationalities and sexual identities and orientations. But even the leaders within this community realize that progress is still needed so that all community members are treated equally. They are hopeful that this mural will symbol the progress made and the work yet to be done.