Tucked away from the busyness of a Thursday night on Beach Drive, local artist Derek Donnelly of Saint Paint Arts worked through the night to welcome newcomers to St. Petersburg. On the side of Smith & Associates’ building, Donnelly painted by lamplight, hard at work on his mural, while the rest of the city began to close up for the night. The approach, he says, helps him escape both heat and distraction. He was commissioned to paint his third postcard theme in the city in the Beach Drive district, bringing the art scene to upscale St. Pete.
Donnelly has become famous locally for his postcard-style St. Pete scenes, the other two are featured in St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and the St. Petersburg Museum of History, easily viewed along the Bay near the entrance of the old Pier. This mural, in the alley of one of Beach Drive’s most highly trafficked areas, offers a two-sided lush Florida scene. The centerpiece is an old-time postcard themed “St. Pete.” The letters, each featuring an aspect of St. Pete (brick, oranges, craft beer, marine, life, water, and a palm-framed sunset) culminate to form a pride flag. The backside, empty as of Thursday night, will feature a bird, says Donnelly. Stop by and see the mural in-progress, or the finished product at Smith & Associates: 330 Beach Dr NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33701.