Oldsmar moving forward with painted crosswalk project

The City of Oldsmar could soon receive its second public art installation as the City Council gave the go-ahead to move forward with the proposed painted crosswalk project.

A painted crosswalk similar to this 58-foot-long bonefish that was painted by Clearwater artist Silas Beach at the Dunedin Marina last summer could be coming to Oldsmar in the near future.

A painted crosswalk, similar to this 58-foot-long bonefish at the Dunedin Marina, could be coming to Oldsmar in the near future following recent approval of the project by the City Council.

The City of Oldsmar could soon receive its second public art installation, as the City Council gave the go-ahead earlier this week to move forward with the North Pinellas Cultural Alliance’s proposed painted crosswalk project.

The project will be similar to the 58-foot-long bonefish that was painted at the Dunedin Marina by Clearwater artist Silas Beach last September and is the first major project for the NPCA, which was formed with the help of $20,000 in startup funding from six north county municipalities in late 2015.

North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials, including former Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris (pink hat) pose at the bonefish crosswalk in Dunedin in early December 2016.

North Pinellas Cultural Alliance officials, including former Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris (pink hat) pose at the bonefish crosswalk in Dunedin in early December 2016.

After NPCA board members came up with the idea to create colorful crosswalks in the participating communities, former Oldsmar City Council member Linda Norris presented the idea to the current council on Tuesday night.

“The NPCA, which this council has graciously donated some seed money to, we are going to be doing be doing our first projects for each city,” Norris, who was instrumental in getting the city’s first public art project completed late last year, said.

“What we’re going to do is let you all pick a crosswalk in each city…and we can talk about themes, or you guys could leave it up to the artists,” she added. “But that’s something we want to move forward with right away, so we just wanted to let you all know.”

The council members then discussed which locations would be best suited for such a project, and a couple of suggestions were made.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis.

“My thought, initially, would be somewhere down at the park, where we have all our events, where people are crossing, at Park (Boulevard) and Shore Drive,” Mayor Doug Bevis said of R.E. Olds Park, site of the city’s first public art installation, a colorful mural  artist Lakeema Matthew painted on the facades of the park’s bandshell.

“I think that’s a logical place,” Vice-Mayor Eric Seidel added.

“But also we should consider maybe down at Sheffield (Park), only because we tend to be getting all the art over on this side of the city, and it probably would be a good idea to start doing something over there and spread it around.”

Mayor Bevis concurred with Seidel’s suggestion, adding the city is planning to install a Frisbee golf course at Sheffield Park, so a new art installation could compliment that project.

Council members Gabby McGee and Jerry Beverland also agreed.

The mural created by artist Lakeema Mathew at R.E. Olds Park features images of the late Oldsmar soldier, Army Cpl. Frank R. Gross, as well as city founder Ransom E. Olds. Credit: Facebook.

The mural created by artist Lakeema Mathew at R.E. Olds Park. Credit: Facebook.

Norris said the NPCA plans to put out a call for artists soon, and she told the officials to decide which location and what theme they might like to see used.

After the meeting, she spoke about moving forward with the NPCA’s first project.

“I think it was very well received, because everyone gave suggestions about where to put it,” Norris told Oldsmar Connect by phone. “I particularly think it would be better to have it downtown, but Sheffield Park is a good spot, too.”

Norris said part of the beauty of the project is the simplicity of it, including the fact that the costs have already been covered by the startup funding.

“All the city has to do at this point is tell us what crosswalk they want to paint and we’ll take it from there!” she said.

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