Now through ___, Water Street Tampa is asking the community to vote on our next mural project! We are excited to present three concepts all inspired by the rich history of the neighborhood’s industrial past. The location of the mural will be situated along a reimagined section of the Meridian Greenway trail, proximate to the intersection of East Cumberland Avenue and South Meridian Avenue. The renovation will bring lush new landscaping, seating areas, bike repair station, and dog run to the community this fall.
We want to hear from you on the design you like best. Scroll down to learn more about the artist’s design inspiration and to register your vote.
Tampa is home to the largest port in the state of Florida. Before the container ships, tank ships, and cruise lines, it was South American pineapples, bananas and citrus. In the 1930s, Bruce’s Juices, owned by businessman J. Adams Bruce, was established. The company processed fruit into concentrated juices which had a longer shelf life and at a reduced cost – a novelty at the time. The factory developed into one of the most successful business in the area until the 1970s when the company went bankrupt, thus ending the career of Tampa’s once powerful juice king. Water Street Tampa partnered with local muralists, Pep Rally Studios, to craft murals rooted in the history of the old fruit factory and agricultural trade of the region into three vibrant, pop art and collage pieces that we invite you to choose.
Mural #1 – “Bananas”
Pep Rally artists searched for a subject matter that was unexpected yet embodied natural beauty and tied back to local history. While reviewing old photos of the port they were immediately drawn the vibrant colors and organic shapes of the tropical fruits that were shipped through Tampa Bay.
Their team of artists began rendering pineapples, oranges and bananas in multiple ways but in the end the shadows and patterns in this banana drawing created the volumetric feel they were looking for. The other illustrations were much more stylized and abstract lending themselves to the overlapping backdrop that balances out this composition. For the final layer of details, Pep Rally cropped in a vintage map of Tampa, label art from Bruce’s Juices and an image of a few of the dock workers.
Mural #2 – “Wide Net”
Inspired by the famous quote by James Rosenquist, “Popular culture isn’t a freeze-frame; it is images zapping by in rapid-fire succession, which is why collage is such an effective way of representing contemporary life. The blur between images creates a kind of motion in the mind.”, Pep Rally deeply believes that collage creates connections between history and our contemporary lives. Their team wanted to create something new by blurring the industrial port, conveyor belts, and ships nets with the tropical fruits moving through them. The transition of color softens the hard geometric lines and the gigantic scale of the fruits create a surreal contemporary feel that is rooted in the past.
Mural Concept #3 – “Tropical Silhouettes”
Pep Rally observed straight lines and rectangles overwhelmingly represent the urban environment. They wanted to disrupt the traditional rectangle by breaking the rigid architectural plains. By crating complex visual boundaries they broke up the flat concrete back drop. Creative cropping of traditional orange crate labels and the coloration historic photos push the composition forward providing texture and context.
See below to cast your vote. The winning mural will be painted on the East Cumberland Parking Garage in Water Street Tampa located at the corner intersection of East Cumberland Avenue and South Meridian Avenue in September 2021.