Tracey “Artist” Jones ended up painting a whole building.
Well, a ticketbooth, actually. But the 41-year-old Land O’ Lakes graphic designer, mom and artist was just glad her new mural in downtown St. Petersburg wasn’t higher off the ground.
“I can’t believe they gave me a whole building, but they did!” Jones said. “I’m just glad it’s close to the ground because a lot of the other (artists), they’re going higher up than I had to!”
Jones was asked to paint a brand-new mural as part of the ninth annual SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival, which brings a diverse collection of public art from renowned local, national and international mural artists. During SHINE, 14 new murals, plus a series of Bright Spot community mural projects, were added to the art districts and surrounding neighborhoods of St. Petersburg’s downtown. The SHINE Mural Festival is an event of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, a nonprofit, 501(c)3 dedicated to advocating for the arts and driving arts-related economic impact.
Jones spent about 80 hours, finishing up on Oct. 20, painting a closed PTSA ticketbooth located in Williams Park, 350 Second Ave. N., in St. Petersburg. She painted over all four walls, incorporating bright colors, but also honoring African themes, such as Kente fabric patterns.
Her mural includes a portrait of John Donaldson, the first black man to own property in Pinellas County. Donaldson bought 40 acres of land on what is now 22nd Avenue S., between 31st and 34th streets S., for 90 cents an acre, according to a 1997 article in the then St. Petersburg Times.
Jones said it was important to her to include some history in her newest mural, which is now her fifth in the Tampa Bay area. She has three others in Tampa and another at Brookwood Florida, a girls group home in Pinellas.
“With (one of the walls) facing the street, I knew I really needed to bring it,” Jones said. “I needed, and wanted, to make it so people want to get out of their car and take pictures of it and, hopefully, just cause some wows and surprises. Just the idea of all the fabric swatches all jumbled together I’m hoping is really attractive to people riding by.
“When I started it, I wanted to tell important stories, from history, and put it into my artwork — about the history we don’t learn much about,” Jones added. “John Donaldson was the first black man to be able to live in St. Pete, he was well-respected and his family was able to integrate because of that, so I just wanted to put in some history here that maybe was lost in St. Pete, so every day they’ll pass it and learn about the history and John.
“And I know, for sure, that it won’t be painted over.”
While SHINE has been adding murals to St. Petersburg for nearly a decade, Jones says most murals — and definitely hers — won’t be painted over. Murals bring a fresh look — and coat of paint — plus vibrance to the community, Jones said, adding she wished there were more public mural opportunities in the Central Pasco area.
“I would love that — to paint a mural in Land O’ Lakes or Lutz!” said Jones, who has been painting for about 10 years and whose work also is featured in galleries and restaurants. “I’m more connected to the Tampa and St. Pete art alliances, with there being a lot of opportunities in Tampa and St. Pete, so I would love to see Pasco’s grow and give us artists out that way opportunities to put up our art publicly like this.
“As far as I know, we don’t have those programs in Pasco, and I would love to see those, and our art, start popping up.”
Tracey “Artist” Jones’ Mural
Where: PTSA ticketbooth at Williams Park, 350 Second Ave. N., in St. Petersburg
Details: Returning for its ninth year, the SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival brings a diverse collection of public art from renowned local, national and international mural artists. During SHINE, 14 new murals plus a series of Bright Spot community mural projects will be added to the art districts and surrounding neighborhoods of St. Petersburg’s downtown. The SHINE Mural Festival is an event of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, a nonprofit, 501(c)3 dedicated to advocating for the arts and driving arts-related economic impact.
For more information and the location of the other murals, visit StPeteArtsAlliance.org/shine-2023.
To see more of Artist Jones’ work, visit her website at TraceyRJones.com or her Instagram account @theartistjones.
Published October 25, 2023