Welcome to Pensacola, the “Western Gate to the Sunshine State” as the former mayor Vince Whibbs use to say. Unknown to most people is the fact that Pensacola, Florida was the first settlement founded, in the “New World” by Tristan de Luna y Arellano in 1559. Sailing with 11 ships and 1500 people from Veracruz, Mexico, the goal was to establish a beachhead to colonize the area. Unfortunately their efforts came to an abrupt end on 19 September 1559 when a hurricane decimated the area. It would be more than a century later before efforts were once again launched to colonize the area.
As I travel the country, I find more and more cities embarking on beautifying public and private spaces with works of art. Pensacola is no different. The art work is not as extensive as one might find in cities such as Eureka, California or even Albuquerque, New Mexico, but there appears to be a grassroots effort to beautify public spaces. According to McCammond, “Murals build a sense of community, they make it welcoming and walkable and they make you want to go there.”
A few of the murals found in the Pensacola area provide a sense of who they are and a road map to the culture of the area. Take the painting of the Blue Angels on the Jefferson Street Garage with one of the painted F/A-18 showing the number 6 on its tail. That plane honors the opposing solo pilot, Marine Captain Jeff “Kooch” Kuss, who tragically died in a mishap during a 2016 show in Tennessee; or the image of Chef Anthony Bourdain, with the national suicide prevention phone number next to his image, located on the Juice Bar, a vegan restaurant on Garden Street.
And then there is the graffiti bridge where the images change on an almost daily basis. The bridge or train trestle is well known in the area for the number of trucks that get stuck under it because many of drivers don’t think or realize their truck height is greater than the trestle’s height. But, the most beautiful Mural I have come across is the Drowsy Poet Coffeehouse located on Brent lane.
And, if you find yourself at Belmont & Devilliers exploring the art work as part of the Blues Trail, stop in the Five Sisters Restaurant for a meal – they have the best Southern fried chicken you will probably find east of the Mississippi River. Whenever I am there for lunch I can’t resist that meal.
To explore these 34 images Click on this link.
A few new murals were recently spotted in the area. Driving down Garden Street I noticed the Juice Bar had changed out its mural from Marilyn Monroe, etc to an ocean scene with other information about the restaurant. Unfortunately there are those who feel they must just go ahead and destroy someone else’s artwork by tagging it with their graffiti. Once the artwork is complete and the trailer is moved I will try to find time to rephotograph the artwork.
While I was in the area, I found new artwork in the Belmont & Devilliers area and rephotographed those from a previous shoot. But the murals I was after were those in the Gonzalez & Tarraogona block. The Court of DeLuna building mural is still under construction. However to my surprise as I walked around the block onto Guillemard, I spied another beautiful mural behind the gate next to the FirstCityArt building. I had tried photographing the art through the fence, but those types of images usually don’t show the beauty of the work very well. But as luck would have it, Ms Collins had come by on her bike, provided me with access to not only the artwork I saw through the fence, but also those on the backside of the building. I certainly appreciated the opportunity I was afforded.
For building length murals, some which can reach 50 -100 ft or more, I’ll photograph them in sections then use software to stitch the images together. Images of these types can be huge, being upwards of 200 mb in size. When this is the case, I will post the image sections of the murals and then a reduced size of the full image.To view these 24 new images click this link.