In it’s 8th year of operation, the Shine Mural Festival in St. Petersburg Florida continues to be one of the leaders in the pack of well respected, heavy hitting mural festivals around the globe. The roster of big name international and national artists that Shine has hosted over the past 8 years implies a huge organization with a massive backing. The reality however, is that with just a handful of intensely dedicated people and the support of a local arts counsel, Shine has managed to become a globally recognized powerhouse project while maintaining the small town intimate vibe that builds a sense of family among everyone involved, including artist (local and international), organizers, volunteers, and community members. A feat that most other mural festivals attempt to model themselves after with varying degrees of success.
Organizers Michelle Tannu and Jenee Priebe explain what it takes to start up a mural festival and keep it running for all these years with the continued support of the community while upholding a responsibility to represent a diversity of styles and backgrounds, both artistic and personal, of its participants and community members. They outline the qualities they look for in the artists they offer invitations to each year and we discuss the challenges a project of this kind faces to become and remain relevant in such a competitive landscape of mural festivals popping up in every city across the country.