Tampa Walls! mural festival underway in the Heights and Westshore

A kickoff party happens on April 22 on Franklin Street.

click to enlarge Ricky Watts' mural at the future home of Health Mutt and Common Dialect Brewing Co. in Tampa, Florida. - Photo via rickywatts/Instagram
Photo via rickywatts/Instagram
Ricky Watts' mural at the future home of Health Mutt and Common Dialect Brewing Co. in Tampa, Florida.
Artists are already on the ground and at work in Seminole Heights, Tampa Heights and Westshore as the neighborhoods play host to the first ever Tampa Walls! Mural festival.

The event runs through May 10, with a kickoff party happening at Tampa Heights’ Bloom on Franklin Block Party this Friday, April 22.

Tampa Walls! marks Tampa’s first foray into the Worldwide Walls! mural festival which brings national muralists (Ricky Watts from San Francisco, Ill Des from Denver) and local favorites (Jujmo and Ali Norman) together on lineup for a festival that’s already laid roots in other cities like Long Beach, California, Cleveland and even Hong Kong.

Friday’s kickoff party will feature live performances from Tampa rapper Pusha Preme, plus a gallery exhibit at Mergeculture Gallery.

The original Pow! Wow! Worldwide originated in Hawaii in 2010. A dozen years later, the festival reaches 17 cities across the world including Dubai. Although the festival is usually one week, Tampa is hosting its festivities from April 22-May 10 to test out the market.

Mural locations include the Health Mutt building (where Watts has completed his mural), Gilberto’s Auto Body, Blind Tiger and Velvet Gypsy in Seminole Heights.

The Tampa Heights murals will join some already painted as part of a separate, unrelated Tampa Bay Fresh Fest mural festival, which has yet to announce 2022 dates.

Each piece is interactive, too, as the murals are equipped with PixelStix codes. Like at St. Pete’s Shine mural festival, users can download the PixelStix app and place their phone near a smart plaque in the corner of the piece and the app will link to the interactive elements of the piece. This could include a playlist, digital art or background about the artist.

Tampa Walls! not only serves to brighten up the Bay, but to incorporate art into the everyday lives of residents. The festival hopes to dazzle onlookers, spark conversations and push for stronger community involvement and more opportunities within the art world.

For the most updated information follow @tpawalls on Instagram.
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