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Arts / Culture

SPFestival Kicks Off With Murals, Portrait Artists

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Quincy Walters/WUSF News
Robert McSweeney gets his portrait drawn by artist Eva Avenue.

A folk trio played outside of the ARTicles art gallery along Central Avenue in St. Petersburg. 

Inside the gallery, St. Pete-based artist Eva Avenue drew portraits of people who stopped in. She said the portraits, which she uses acrylic, colored pencils and pastels, is her own - something she calls "a mixture between realism and feelism". 

"I think it's fun to connect in that odd, really intense, intimate, artist-staring-at-you kinda way," she said with a laugh. 

Robert McSweeney was her subject. 

"I'm deathly scared of what I'm going to look like," he said. 

About 10 minutes later, when Avenue revealed the finished product, his worry subsided. 

"It doesn't look that bad," he said. "I think I look worse in my photographs than I look in this, for sure." 

I even joined in on the art fun and got my portrait drawn. I think it nicely captures my dismissive essence. 

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Credit Eva Avenue
I sit next to my portrait.

This was part of an art walk last weekend which is part of a month-long celebration of the arts called SPFestival. It's organized by the Suncoasters of St. Petersburg

Leslie Curran, the owner of ARTicles, said that bringing the community together - artist and patrons, young and old - is what SPFestival is all about. 

"As the owner of an art gallery, it puts the emphasis on what we've wanted it to be for a long time - and that's the cultural arts in this community," she said. "It's the one thing that threads the community together." 

Last week marked the end of the mural festival. But you can still catch art fashion shows, a Shakespeare festival and more in the coming days. 

For a full schedule of events, click here

WUSF News invites you to contribute to our Art Populi series. Grab your phone and send us your thoughts and pictures from SPFestival. Tweet us @WUSF, or find us on Facebook and Instagram @WUSFPublicMedia. Make sure you use the hashtag -- #WUSFPubArt.