Sunday, April 22, 2018
Bars & Spirits

For St. Pete Pride, the Amsterdam bar lets you be the muralist

In mural-crazy St. Petersburg, the big white wall just off the roundabout at the corner of Central Avenue and 11th Street could be an artist's dream canvas.

"We've been approached by a lot of people," says John Cullen, co-owner of the wall and the bar it's connected to, the Amsterdam. "We're right on the roundabout, and people have to slow down. Everybody sees that wall."

But instead of handing the wall over to a muralist — for a while, at least — the Amsterdam is giving it to the people.

Over the past week-plus, the Amsterdam has coated part of the wall with a 50-feet-wide, 13-feet tall rainbow flag — "the largest Pride flag in all of St. Pete, probably anywhere," Cullen said — and this Sunday, as St. Pete Pride wraps up in the Grand Central District, the bar is inviting festivalgoers to come out and decorate the rest with their own personal messages of love, hope and inspiration.

"We're going to provide paint and brushes for people to write inspirational, personal Pride messages on the wall," Cullen said. "The flag takes up half the wall; the other half, toward the bottom, is just a white canvas."

The addition of the flag alone has already made a whopping difference, he said.

"Since this mural is up, we notice it from way, way down on central, whereas before, you couldn't really notice the building. We're now more aware than ever that this is going to be a really important project."

The hand-painted murals should stay up at least through the summer, Cullen said. The Amsterdam has been in talks with St. Pete artist Bask for a more long-term mural, but work on that won't begin until September at the earliest.

"The artwork will ultimately be Bask's art," Cullen said. "We're just trying to feed him with ideas and things that we would like to see that would pertain to our business on the wall."

For more information on the mural and party, see facebook.com/TheAmsterdamStPete.

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