Cultural alliance plans first public art project

North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials recently revealed plans for the organization’s first public art project.

North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials pose at the site of the bonefish crosswalk at the Dunedin Marina in early December 2016.

North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials, including founder Colin Bissett (c) and Linda Norris (pink hat) at the site of the bonefish crosswalk at the Dunedin Marina in early December 2016.

The North Pinellas Cultural Alliance was formed by Colin Bissett in late 2015 for the purpose of promoting arts, culture and history in six north county communities—Clearwater, Safety Harbor, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Tarpon Springs and Oldsmar.

After receiving $20,000 in startup funding from the six municipalities, the organization’s board members held monthly meetings and enlisted the aid of community leaders to help formulate a plan of attack and decide exactly how they were going to achieve their goals.

Recently, Bissett and fellow NPCA board members revealed their plans for the organization’s first public art project—painting crosswalks in the participating communities, like the bonefish crosswalk at the Dunedin Marina created by local artist Silas Beach.

“It all started when we raised the $20,000 from the six municipalities,” Bissett said from the crosswalk near the Old Bay Cafe in early December. “We thought a crosswalk project would unite the six municipalities under one project.”

NPCA founder Colin Bissett.

NPCA founder Colin Bissett.

“We have representatives from each municipality on the board, so we hope the idea will flourish.”

Former Oldsmar City Council member and noted public art proponent Linda Norris said she plans to reveal the project to the City Council after the New Year.

“I’m going to go to the next council meeting and tell them about it,” Norris, who recently helped unveil Oldsmar’s first public art project, said. “We need to figure out which crosswalk and theme we want to use, and decide who is going to do the work.”

“The nice part about it is we don’t need to ask for any money, because we already got it!”

Other NPCA members are equally excited about the project.

A 58-foot-long bonefish was painted on a crosswalk at the Dunedin Marina by Clearwater artist Silas Beach over the summer.

A 58-foot-long bonefish was painted on a crosswalk at the Dunedin Marina by Clearwater artist Silas Beach over the summer.

“We’ve done some wrapped signal boxes in Clearwater, and we think the crosswalks will tie into those and other sidewalk projects to really make these areas pop,” Clearwater artist and NPCA president Jim Harrison Smith said. “But you’ve got to get everyone on the same page, and sometimes that can be tough.”

“We’d like to bring their own renditions to the other NPCA cities,” Dunedin Vice-Mayor Deborah Kynes said. “You just have to find the right locations.”

While Bissett acknowledges it’s been a year full of stops and starts as the NPCA found its footing and worked hard to get on the same page regarding things like coming up with a unified vision and coordinating meeting times and locations, they believe they are heading into 2017 with a full head of steam.

“It’s taken us some time, but this this is our first big joint project,” Bissett said.

“I think we’ve got a lot of momentum going now.”

For more information on the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance, visit the organization’s Facebook page.

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