New public art project unveiled at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park

This colorful mural, designed and painted by Palm Harbor teaching artist Noelle Stillman, at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park is the second public art installation in the city and the second project for the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance.

Oldsmar’s newest public art project, a colorful mural designed and painted by Palm Harbor’s Noelle Stillman and funded by the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance, was unveiled during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sheffield Park last week.

The eye-catching piece, titled “Native Balance” by the artist, features an array of bright flowers and butterflies against a stark black background.

At the March 30 ceremony, Stillman, a 27-year-old teaching artist who was selected after a call to artists went out last fall, spoke about Oldsmar’s newest public art project, her first as lead artist.

“Public art is what’s making Tampa Bay fabulous and it’s wonderful to see Oldsmar supporting it,” Stillman, who teaches art at Sandy Lane Elementary in Clearwater, said.

“This was my first project with artist’s reign and it was probably the most supportive and uplifting experience I could’ve asked for. I’ve hiked in Oldsmar for years, and it was nice to be able to come back and paint this mural here.”

Clearwater teaching artist Noelle Stillman poses atop “Native Balance,” the mural she painted at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park as part of the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance’s latest public art project.

The project was the second for the city, following the murals installed at R.E. Olds Park in 2016, as well as the second public art project for the NPCA, a nonprofit organization founded in 2015 to help promote art, culture and history in several North Pinellas communities.

As it happens, one of the biggest promoters of public art in Oldsmar, former City Council member Linda Norris, was recently named as the chair of the NPCA.

During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Oldsmar Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel acknowledged Norris’ continued efforts to promote public art in Pinellas County.

“I want to thank Linda for her leadership in bringing more public art to the city,” Seidel said prior to cutting the ribbon.

“Her dedication and hard work in promoting public art in Oldsmar and throughout the county should not go unnoticed.”

Oldsmar Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel hugs former City Council member and current NPCA chair Linda Norris at the ribbon cutting for the city’s latest public art installation, a mural at Sheffield Park on Thursday, Mar. 30, 2018.

Norris termed out of office in 2016 but was the driving force behind the city’s initial public art installation, and she has been involved with the NPCA since its inception.

After thanking her fellow NPCA board members in attendance, including Ken Hannon, Scott Long and Deborah Kynes, Norris praised city leaders, including former Leisure Services Director Felicia Donnelly, as well as department heads and staff for making the project possible.

“Felicia Donnelly really helped us with the process, and I have to thank the Parks and Rec and Leisure Services departments for securing and clearing the site for us and making it possible for Noelle to do the work,” Norris said.

“This project couldn’t have been completed without their help.”

Several City of Oldsmar and North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials were on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony for Oldsmar’s latest public art project, a colorful mural located at the entrance to Sheffield Park by Palm Harbor teaching artist Noelle Stillman.

Following the ribbon cutting, Norris spoke about the city’s and the NPCA’s, latest public art project.

“This beautiful artwork is NPCA’s latest project to further our goal of supporting culture in North Pinellas County,” she said, adding “Noelle exceeded our expectations with her beautiful creation.”

“Art nourishes our soul. Our citizens appreciate what we are doing. In these uncertain times, we must find joy wherever we can. All of the arts have the ability to lift us up.”

Mayor Doug Bevis, who was unable to attend the ceremony, agreed with his former City Council colleague.

“I think art in a community like Oldsmar is really important,” Bevis told Oldsmar Connect over the weekend.

“You can’t forget the arts. Art is a big part of what makes a community a community.”

Linda Norris and Noelle Stillman pose atop “Native Balance, the mural Stillman painted at Oldsmar’s Sheffield Park as part of the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance’s latest public art project.

While Bevis was very complimentary of Stillman’s work, he said he would like to see some variety in the city’s public art projects moving forward.

“The piece is beautiful,” the mayor said. “When I saw it in person I thought it was a lot more vibrant and it really popped. The artist really did a terrific job on it.”

He added, “It’s a beautiful piece, but I would like to see some different types of art, some unique, functional art, in the city.

“The murals and brass sculptures we have in town are beautiful, but I think we have room for that type of art.”

Stillman concurred.

“It would be interesting to see an interactive sculpture or something of that nature here, especially with the city being so dedicated to the outdoors and being active,” she said.

“They have excellent space for it.”

Children playing at Sheffield Park in Oldsmar stop to check out the city’s latest public art installation, a colorful mural titled “Native Balance” by Palm Harbor teaching artist Noelle Stillman.

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  1. Donna Tecson-Smith 2 years ago

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