15 Amazing Outdoor Mural Projects That Paint Florida
By Jodi Mailander Farrell
Florida artists and historians have taken art to the street, creating outdoor art galleries that provide a sense of place -- and fantastic vacation photos.
Bold and bright, these public murals can be found in unexpected and surprising places: the backs of buildings, alleys, parking garages and hidden staircases.
Find them easily with this guide to 15 of the state’s most Instagram-ready walls.
WYNWOOD WALLS, MIAMI
In the heart of Miami’s emerging arts district, this outdoor museum of street art spans six buildings on Northwest 2nd Avenue, between Northwest 25th and Northwest 26th streets, with murals by some of the world’s most famous graffiti artists, including Shepard Fairey, Retna, Aiko, Invader, Futura and Ron English. Tour companies like Wynwood Art Walk offer one-hour, $20 guided walks through the space.
ADAMO DRIVE MURAL, TAMPA
Florida’s largest public mural stretches 12,000 feet and took three years to complete on the side of an industrial building on Adamo Drive at the south entrance of the historic neighborhood of Ybor City. Between 17th and 19th streets on Adamo Drive, the two-block mural produced under the artistic direction of Michael Parker tells the story of the historic district’s past, present and future. Also in Ybor City, the “Viva Ybor” mural on 7th Avenue is a colorful celebration of the same neighborhood. For a list of tours go to www.yborcityonline.com.
CANVAS, WEST PALM BEACH
Billed as the nation’s largest outdoor museum show, the annual, two-week event in November attracts renowned artists from around the globe to paint almost two dozen murals all over the city in such unexpected places as under bridges and on the side of parking garages. Most of the installations can be viewed year-round, with a map showing their locations at http://canvaswpb.org.
Local artist Nadia Utto of Landmark Arts and more than 40 other artists have painted large-scale murals on the sides of buildings around the beach town to honor its rich history. The collection includes a Royal Poinciana tree mural by original Florida Highwaymen artist Jimmy Stovall on the side of the Jenkins Landscape building, 12260 SE Dixie Hwy. You can locate the murals on the Landmark Arts website or sign up for a Mural Tour of 16 of the paintings led by the Hobe Sound Chamber of Commerce, with a boxed lunch and a chance to add your own brushstrokes to a mural underway included in the two-hour, $15 tour. Maps for self-guided walks are also available at the chamber’s offices, 11954 SE Dixie Hwy.
LULA MURAL PROJECT, LAKE WORTH
Local artists and students have been revitalizing buildings with paintings here since 2011 in conjunction with the Lake Worth Community Redevelopment Agency as part of the Lake Worth Arts Initiative, also known as LULA. A walking map of their work, including nearby restaurants, hotels, live music venues and stores, is on the LULA website, www.lakewortharts.com.
WHALING WALLS, FLORIDA KEYS
Environmental artist Wyland spent three decades painting 100 life-size public marine murals all over the world in one of the largest art-in-public-places projects in history, spanning five continents, 17 countries and 79 cities to motivate environmental awareness and stewardship. Three of these murals are in the Florida Keys. They are located in Key Largo at mile marker 99.2, in Marathon at mile marker 50, and in Key West's Historic Seaport at 201 William St. Wyland credits the Keys reef – the only contiguous coral expanse in North America – for inspiring much of his work. Plan your trip at www.fla-keys.com.
WHALING WALL, DESTIN
A fourth Wyland Whaling Wall is in Northwest Florida at 690 Regatta Bay Dr. in Destin. Depicting marine life of the Gulf, the mural covers all four sides of Mid-Bay Marina’s 71,000-square-foot dry-storage building. One of the best views of it is from the Mid-Bay Bridge spanning Choctawhatchee Bay. Plan your trip at www.emeraldcoastfl.com.
CENTRAL ARTS DISTRICT, ST. PETERSBURG
More than 25 urban murals grace the Central Arts District in downtown St. Pete. Florida CraftArt hosts $19 four-block walking tours every Saturday morning. In September, a curated, open-air museum show called SHINE showcases large-scale murals by international and local artists. Artist profiles and a mural map are on the group’s website, http://shineonstpete.com.
CITY OF MURALS, PALATKA
This small town on the St. Johns River between Gainesville and Daytona has more than 31 murals that pay tribute to Putnam County’s history, culture and natural riches. Most are found around St. Johns Avenue, including one at South Fourth Street and St. Johns Avenue that features evangelical minister Billy Graham, who was baptized and preached his first sermon here. City of Murals tour brochures are at the Visitor Center at the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, 1100 Reid St. The Conlee-Snyder Mural Committee also provides an online guide at www.conleemurals.org.
TOWN OF MURALS, LAKE PLACID
In 1992, the Lake Placid Mural Society formed to beautify the town and tell its history. Over 40 murals are now painted on the side of a drug store, antiques mart, arts co-op and other historic and commercial buildings. Some murals have sound and hidden items in them. The Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center/Mural Art Gallery, 18 N. Oak Ave., is a great place to start to see the original renderings and a video, and pick up a self-guiding tour book.
Thirteen murals dot the city’s historic district and celebrate its bygone days, when founder Henry A. DeLand arrived in 1876 to create an educational and cultural mecca. The MainStreet DeLand Association, 100 N. Woodland, Blvd., has staff docents who take visitors on tours.
MURAL TOWN, PUNTA GORDA
The Punta Gorda Historic Mural Society has created 28 historic murals in this fishing town between Sarasota and Fort Myers since 1995, restoring many that were destroyed when Hurricane Charlie roared ashore in 2004. Most adorn store walls in Punta Gorda’s historic commercial district where Marion and Olympia Avenues intersect Tamiami Trail (Highway 41). Download a walking map on the historic society’s website or grab a guide at the Chamber of Commerce, 252 W. Marion Ave.
PINEAPPLE GROVE ARTS DISTRICT, DELRAY BEACH
Murals, eclectic sculptures and painted bicycle racks are part of the landscape in this artsy neighborhood of galleries, shops, cafes and artist studios off Atlantic Avenue at Northeast 2nd Avenue. Look for the mural of a giant pineapple on the east wall of the Love Shack building, 137 E. Atlantic Ave., marking the district’s entrance. The Downtown Development Authority of Delray Beach has a district guide on its website, www.downtowndelraybeach.com.
Twenty contemporary murals by local and international artists dot the downtown area. Renowned pop artist Kenny Scharf , whose mural is at 2019 Hollywood Blvd., is among the painters whose works appear. Find the mural map at www.hollywoodcra.org.