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New walking tour shows off St. Petersburg's many murals

Anyone passing through the Central Arts District in downtown St. Petersburg can't help but notice that as much seems to happen on the outside of its buildings as on the inside, thanks to an aggressive mural program washing the exteriors in vibrant images by many artists in many styles.

Just six blocks long, the district, running along Third and Ninth streets between First Avenue N and S, is home to an astonishing 25 murals and counting.

Until now, you've been on your own in discovering them.

No more: Walking Mural Tours begin Saturday with guides that will provide lots of information about them, along with anecdotes from the artists. (Some tour guides will actually be some of the artists.)

Diane Shelly, executive director of Florida Craftsmen, which has one of the newest and largest murals on the back of its building at 501 Central Ave., is organizing them.

"We want to feature the district itself, too," she said, "for people to experience all the galleries, shops and restaurants. We're working on coupon or offers (not ready in time for the first tour) from some of the businesses here for people on the tours."

You can't just show up, she said. Reservations must be made in advance. The tours last about 90 minutes, and groups can arrange for special tour times. The $19 fee pays the small stipend for the tour guides and helps fund more murals.

Contact Lennie Bennett at lbennett@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8293

If You Go

The Walking Mural Tour in downtown St. Petersburg will begin Saturday from 10 to 11:30 a.m. and continue at those times each Saturday except the second Saturday of the month. On those days, it will be from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in advance of the Second Saturday ArtWalk. Reservations required.

Contact: Book tour at esifloridafoodtours.com. Groups can call (727) 458-9839 or email eatsipindulge@gmail.com for special arrangements.

Cost: $19 adults, $11 kids 6 to 18; under 5 free.

Gallery: To see a collection of murals from all over the bay area, go to tbtim.es/urbanmurals.

New walking tour shows off St. Petersburg's many murals 08/12/14 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 12, 2014 7:38pm]
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