TAMPA — The streets — and an interstate — will soon be peppered with color.
The artLOUD! initiative will bring more than 20 streetcar sculptures to downtown and surrounding districts this fall as part of the Streetcar Sculpture Challenge. The project, backed by Commercial Real Estate Women Tampa Bay, aims to raise interest and support for local art, as well as spotlight the city's historic streetcar system.
Kristin Mora, co-chair of the artLOUD! committee, said the project was adapted from a similar series of dolphin sculptures in Clearwater. The streetcars will be crafted by Icon Poly, a 3-D fabricator, and then painted by local artists.
Each sculpture will be 48 inches long and 18 inches tall and will call Tampa home for one year. Individuals and business can sponsor them for $1,500 apiece.
Mora said the streetcars will be completed by the end of September and installed in mid October during Tampa Bay Design Week. The locations for the figures have not yet been finalized, but they will be placed throughout the city, in Ybor City and along the Riverwalk.
Terri Simons, director of Program Services for the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, said the streetcar sculptures are an attractive addition.
"I think it's a great project," she said. "I think it'll be lots of fun."
The streetcars aren't the only public art project coming to Tampa.
On Monday, the arts council unveiled seven billboards painted by local artists placed throughout Hillsborough County (and one Pasco County location). The ArtPop Tampa program selected six artists who made submissions and the public voted on a seventh artist.
The billboards will be 48 feet wide and 12 feet tall. The council loved the idea of making local artists' work "larger than life," Simons said.
"Art enhances the quality of life," she said, "and our surroundings."
For the next 12 months, Outfront Media billboards will display the artwork. Five of the designs will appear on digital billboards, while the other two will be on vinyl.
Altered Beard, Caitlin Albritton's design, was selected by fan vote. The 25-year-old Tampa native said she was excited about the opportunity to showcase her work.
"It's a big thing," Albritton said. "It's a new experience for me."
Her original oil painting was 8 inches by 8 inches and took her a few weeks to finish. At its thickest, the illustration is up to an inch deep. After layering the design, Albritton used a blade to cut and sculpt the painting.
The artwork is a square and only the top fourth of the design will be used on the billboard.
The digital billboards will be on Dale Mabry Highway just north of Raymond James Stadium, and on State Road 60, east of Interstate 75. The two vinyl billboards will be on Boy Scout Boulevard east of West Shore Boulevard, and on the corner of U.S. 19 and Jasmine Boulevard.
Shaker Samman can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3394. Follow @shakersamman.