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The SHINE St. Pete Mural Festival is back for the 2023 season

A building featuring a multicolored mural stands in an outdoor landscape.
Chris Dyer/St. Petersburg Arts Alliance
Chris Dyer, a St. Pete-based visual artist, is one of the local muralists featured at this year's festival.

The popular street art festival returns with a curated lineup of local and international artists. Due to the rain forecast, the installation will now begin on Sunday, Oct. 15.

The sunny streets of downtown St. Petersburg will once again be filled with new eye-catching mural displays as the SHINE St. Pete Mural Festival kicks off starting Oct. 15. The installation was delayed due to the rain forecast.

The festival, which has received global attention in recent years, brings together the creative endeavors of local, national and international artists who will create — in real time — large-scale works throughout the art districts and surrounding neighborhoods of St. Petersburg’s downtown.

A guide map of the SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival outlines the locations of the various murals that will be on display for the 2023 season.
St. Petersburg Arts Alliance
This SHINE 2023 guidebook map outlines the locations of the various murals that will be on display at this year's event.

Presented by REFLECTION St. Pete and hosted by the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the festival will take place from Oct. 15-23, with 17 new murals being added to the city through featured artists and community project efforts.

“Last year, we measured about 11,000 people that came out throughout the course of the week to visit the walls and attend the events,” said Jenee Priebe, the festival’s director and St. Petersburg Arts Alliance staffer. “For some people, it’s like Christmas for them. We’ve been really fortunate to have a great community response.”

Entering its ninth year, the festival aims to celebrate the works of local artists and support the efforts of the city’s diverse art scene. By providing the necessary supplies, permissions and accommodations required to create the murals, SHINE equips its artists with full creative licensing and expression.

“That's where SHINE comes in,” said Chris Dyer, St. Petersburg-based visual artist and SHINE featured muralist. “It's nice when there's legit organizations to create events that empower artists to do nice art.”

For the artists involved, the event provides a means of fostering connection within their community.

“Anything that you do that involves you in the community, and in the making of art in general, helps to deepen your spiritual connection to the city and the community around you,” said Rhys Meatyard, St. Petersburg-based artist and one of this year’s featured muralists.

Three figures sit in a space next to the sky below a rainbow in the clouds.
Rhys Meatyard/St. Petersburg Arts Alliance
A piece titled "Choose Your Own Fate" by SHINE featured local artist Rhys Meatyard.

The event is also a platform for local artists looking to break into art as a full-time career.

“I think especially for local artists, our hope is that they get a lot more recognition and awareness in the community,” Priebe said. “We have several examples of artists that were full-time working in other industries, participated in SHINE, and then were able to become full-time working artists after the festival.”

In addition to the cultural value the festival brings, local businesses have also seen a boost during previous festival runs. According to a 2019 economic impact report, the festival brought in a reported $2.1 million to the St. Petersburg/Clearwater community across the duration of the festival.

Besides watching the artists complete their murals, the festival will feature several other events, including a collaboration with St. Pete Artwalk and an exhibition at SPACE highlighting punk, metal, horror and sci-fi subcultures.

Read more here for a complete guide to the festival and schedule of events.

Tyler Luginski is a WUSF Rush Family Radio News intern for the summer of 2024.