Thursday, September 29, 2016

Murals of St.Petersburg

John and I have been following articles in the Tampa Bay Times regarding the 2016 SHINE Mural Festival in St.Petersburg.  Seems that it was on Labor Day weekend when many of the artists were out and painting store walls as well as one street intersection in St.Petersburg.  It is a distance to go from where we are parked and there were some storms passing through that weekend so it was not possible to see the artists at work.  On Monday of this week we had some errands to run in St.Petersburg, so it seemed a good time to search out the murals. 
The mural pictured above was not done this year, but I thought it interesting as it depicts a piece of local history.  In 2013 the St.Petersburg Pier, a local landmark and popular tourist attraction was closed with plans to build a bigger and better one.  That has not happened, and I think the artist is expressing some very strong feelings about the passing of that landmark.
This years mural festival brought 21 new murals to the city.  Painted on the School of Art building are fish actively moving in and around each other.  The picture fills a wall of the building and continues around the side.  It was done by Pantonio a Portuguese artist known for his rather large dimension murals.  The only requirements for the mural artists is that they be 18 years of age and reside in the St.Petersburg area.  Some of the murals are created by several people, as the mural pictured below which was done by clients and one art teacher from Creative Clay art school and galleries.  Unfortunately it faces a parking lot and an unobstructed picture was not possible.
It certainly is a very colorful mural!  And I can say the same for the car and mural pictured below.
"The Car That Says Art" is parked in front of a creation by Ricardo Richey.  Some of the murals, as this one which we found by wandering down an alley, was a bit hard to find but always worth the extra walking.  While looking for them we walked passed art galleries and cafes, as well as a variety of boutiques and tattoo parlors.  There are also some abandoned buildings as well as buildings in the middle of reconstruction.  Murals found on many of the buildings certainly add a colorful flair to this older section of St.Petersburg!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Fine Art Center in Dunedin

First off I must say that our life style has radically changed, at least for now.  John certainly would rather be on the road, but I enjoy my time with the grandchildren.
The weather continues to be quite hot, we had thought September would bring some relief but guess we will have to wait until October.  So we are still looking for indoor activities and Saturday we visited the art center here in Dunedin.  As I have written before, we often are surprised at what art museums in small towns have to offer.  And we were quite pleased at what we discovered in this art museum.  One exhibit was on Harmonic Divergence.  This exhibit of art was inspired by music.
There is a vegetable orchestra in Vienna.  The members have been building  instruments from legumes, cabbages and courgettes for twelve years.

  There are recordings of the band's music- which, according to museum information is described as "transparent, crackling, shrill, massive dark and hypnotic, funky and groovy". I would have to agree!  Also on display are instruments made of ceramic, as well as guitars made of scrap lumber with such treasures as door springs, saw blades and pot lids inside. They are painted with red barn paint.
The  exhibit, which I enjoyed at this museum the most, is titled" Dignity: Tribes in Transition".  Photographs on display here were taken by Dana Gluckstein.  For thirty years she photographed Indigenous Peoples around the world fighting for their land, their traditions, their languages, against large companies, their governments and missionary zeal.  In 1970 representatives from tribes in North America took their concerns to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.  Their declaration of rights was approved by all nations except a few- America and Canada did not sign it.  Fortunately President Obama signed it in 2010.  There is an article in this exhibit written by Desmond Tutu in which he notes that "umbuntu" is needed world-wide.  In the Nguni Bantu language it translates roughly to "human kindness".  It is the essence of what it is to be human, that we are inter-dependent with other human beings and the rest of creation.  A bit of human kindness is certain needed in our political discourses during this election year!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Trip in to St.Petersburg

We are now further north and west of St.Petersburg than we were this past winter.  So it is roughly a 20 mile trip into the city one-way.   On a rainy day a couple of weeks ago John and I decided to make the trip into the city to see Southside With You, a story about a day of courtship between President Obama and his wife Michelle which took place about 20 years ago.  It was a wonderful movie, by the way.  Theaters which show the independent films are few and far between, thankfully we found one in St.Petersburg.  After the movie we stopped to visit Florida's largest new and used bookstore.
Both John and I are voracious readers and I cannot believe that we did not visit this place last winter.
The place is very large, and we wandered from room to room looking at books for about two hours.
I was taken aback when I happened to look up and saw a cat peering intently at me.
I walked on further into that room and found two more cats, one curled up in a chair sleeping.  We ended up buying about 6 books- but this store's used books are a bit pricey, I can find cheaper used books at thrift stores as well as libraries.  But certainly not the large variety!

After the book store we drove on Central Avenue close to the downtown looking for the mural pictured above.  The pictures on this commercial building are on every outside wall and they tell a fable about an evil giant who stole gold from the local villagers.  Every evening while at the supper table he fed the gold to his dog.  The villagers wanted their gold back and consequently killed the dog.  Every evening, while the giant dined,  the villagers held the dog's head up to the giant's leg so he could feel the dog and feed it gold.  Eventually the village got all their money back.

In the picture above the dog's head is being held up by the villagers.  Quite a fascinating mural!  Yesterday, Labor Day, more painters were planning on covering more walls on the buildings of St.Petersburg.  Not sure whether they were successful, as we had a heavy downpour here in the late afternoon.  August seems to be the rainy month here, of course Hurricane Hermine did not help that situation as she brought heavy rain for several days.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Hurricane Hermine and Granddaughter Clarissa

Both ladies arrived the night of September first.  Fortunately we were able to drive to the birthing center before the worse came that Hermine had to offer arrived.  The birth went easy (if one can say any birth comes easy) and about two hours after we came to the center, our granddaughter made her appearance.  She sobbed her heart out over the cruelty of the event, and has not cried that hard since.
Mother and baby are doing fine.  They were able to go home with Daddy ( Spencer), John and I by 1AM.  Despite storm warnings, John and I returned to our home.  Thought I would easily go to sleep and would have no problem staying asleep, but then Hurricane Hermine arrived.  Lightning flashed, a strong wind blew and our home shook all night.  We got little sleep.  Torrents of rain came down and when daylight came I opened our door to a watery world.  Despite the storm, our newspaper arrived!
During two days of the storm, Thursday and Friday, schools were called off and many shops were closed, but just like our U.S. mail, the newspapers still delivered!  Many local roads were flooded.
In those early morning hours after the storm blew through, flocks of water birds surrounded our home- herons, egrets, ibis and wood storks.  I could soon see large juicy worms hanging from their bills.  They were not the only ones who appreciated the rain, our grandson Nathan thought it quite important to scoop it up and water the grass.
Melissa asked me to find a copy of the Tampa Bay Times so she could show Clarissa the news of the day for September 1,2016.  Unfortunately the headlines for that day were: "Awful Arrival." ( in reference to Hurricane Hermine).  No question that the arrival of Clarissa was wonderful and a very blessed event!