Downtown drivers may notice something new along Florida Avenue.
The Portico, an outreach of Hyde Park United Methodist Church, recently unveiled For the Love of THIS City, a three- story mural signifying the history and connectedness of Tampa's communities.
The artwork created by local artist collaborative Illsol, Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol, covers the entire south wall of the Portico, 1001 N Florida Ave.
It features alligators, a rooster and other symbolic images representing Tampa's roots, wildlife and evolving city scene.
The mural is the second major art installation at the Portico, following the February dedication of Homeless Jesus, a sculpture by Timothy Schmalz.
"The mural and sculpture support The Portico's mission to provide a space where art can spark a discussion, speak to the heart of humanity and illustrate important issues in our world," said Justin LaRosa, Portico minister.
In addition to hosting spiritual and religious events, the Portico aims to serve as a downtown gathering place. Current events include porch potlucks, meditation and Sunday evening services. A café will open in the fall.
For the Love of This City, painted in vivid reds, blues and blacks, fits with the Portico's theme, to bring people together and bridge gaps within Tampa Bay.
Illsol also created the mural at Café Hey, located in Historic Tampa Heights.
For more information, visit theportico.org.
Times correspondent Sarah Whitman