New Art Mural “For the Love of THIS City”
Emerges in Downtown Tampa at The Portico
View full progress in photos at bottom of page.
A new, three-story-tall art mural displays in vivid imagery and color the natural beauty, rich history and diverse communities of Tampa. The mural is a collaborative creation by Illsol– artists Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol–at The Portico, 1001 N. Florida Ave.
Visible to traffic along Florida Avenue, the mural covers the entire south wall of a building at The Portico, an emerging downtown gathering space being developed by Hyde Park United Methodist Church. The Portico is committed to enhancing the social, artistic and spiritual fabric of Tampa through conversation, connection and community change.
Illsol entitled the mural “For the Love of THIS City,” and describes it as “a symbolic coming together for the good of all,” displaying the “connectedness and power between people coming together and having respect for the natural world as well as the history around them.”
Matching the architectural style of The Portico, the mural is a tryptic in pointed arches. The central image of rooster and alligators is a reference to nature and history of the area, as well as the unlikely partnership of predator and prey uniting for loving purpose, according to Illsol. Other imagery symbolizes the river and bay, wildlife, industry, neighborhoods and people of Tampa.
“There are many great things to love about Tampa, but one of them is to be here, now, and a part of the resurgence of the arts, the revitalization of a thriving downtown, and a part of the community of people that define this city,” said Hope Donnelly, who helped spearhead the project. “Tony and Michelle embrace all the greatness of Tampa and put together a thoughtful, multilayered mural that The Portico is proud to have as part of their home.”
The art is the second installation unveiled at The Portico this year, following the February dedication of the “Homeless Jesus” sculpture by Canadian artist Timothy Schmalz. A new coffee shop, The Portico Café, is now under construction, expected to open later this fall and envisioned to become a hub for artists. The Portico also is the downtown campus of Hyde Park United Methodist, which will offer weekly worship there at 5:30 p.m. Sundays beginning Sept. 11, 2016.
“The mural and sculpture support The Portico’s mission to provide a space where art can spark a discussion, speak to the heart of humanity and illustrate important issues in our world,” said the Rev. Justin LaRosa, campus minister.
Current activities at The Portico include free documentary screenings and discussions, meditation in the Henderson Chapel, and potluck porch parties with neighbors. For more information on events, visit theportico.org.