St. Petersburg muralist  Zulu Painter (@zulupainter1) sizes up his progress while working on the Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park Mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg.

Photos: In St. Petersburg, new mural honors demolished Black neighborhoods

A trio of mural artists teamed up with students to capture what used to be and what could be.
St. Petersburg muralist Zulu Painter (@zulupainter1) sizes up his progress while working on the Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park Mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]
A trio of mural artists teamed up with students to capture what used to be and what could be.
Published Dec. 10, 2021
Updated Dec. 10, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG — The smell of aerosol paint could be detected in the air at Campbell Park Recreational Center as muralists Carlos Culbertson, who goes by “Zulu Painter” and Jabari Reed, better known as “Iboms, worked to complete a new mural depicting life in the former St. Petersburg neighborhoods of Gas Plant and Laurel Park.

St. Petersburg muralist Jabari "Iboms" Reed (@iboms) pauses while working on the Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg. Reed is working in collaboration with fellow artist Zulu Painter (@zulupainter1). They incorporated artwork from students at the recreation center's after-school program.
St. Petersburg muralist Jabari "Iboms" Reed (@iboms) pauses while working on the Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg. Reed is working in collaboration with fellow artist Zulu Painter (@zulupainter1). They incorporated artwork from students at the recreation center's after-school program. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]
Related: A chat with St. Petersburg artist Jabari Reed, aka Iboms

The art, being painted on the north side of the recreation center, is supported by Voices Heard Voices Matter of the Bloomberg Harvard Group and the African American Heritage Association.

Students from the recreation center’s after-school program collaborated with the professional muralists. The students reviewed old photos from the demolished neighborhoods, then were inspired to draw their own interpretation of life as it was then and what their vision of the future would be.

St. Petersburg muralists Jabari "Iboms" Reed and Zulu Painter work on the mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg.
St. Petersburg muralists Jabari "Iboms" Reed and Zulu Painter work on the mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]

Iboms, Zulu Painter and fellow artist Reid Jenkins projected and painted the kids’ drawings onto the side of the recreation center and then filled in spaces with their own work. A Gas Plant and Laurel Park neighborhood reunion is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday at Tropicana Field, Parking Lot 4, which is where the neighborhoods once stood.

St. Petersburg muralist Zulu Painter (@zulupainter1) works on the Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park Mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg. Here, Painter works on depicting a delivery truck that would have been commonly seen in the neighborhoods. "That truck is inspired from an original photo taken in Laurel Park," said Gwen Reese, president of the African American Heritage Association, which sponsored the work of art in collaboration with Voices Heard Voices Matter. "It was typical of the community. Seeing the ice man, the produce man and many other vibrant things happening as everyday life as we knew it," said Reese.
St. Petersburg muralist Zulu Painter (@zulupainter1) works on the Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park Mural at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg. Here, Painter works on depicting a delivery truck that would have been commonly seen in the neighborhoods. "That truck is inspired from an original photo taken in Laurel Park," said Gwen Reese, president of the African American Heritage Association, which sponsored the work of art in collaboration with Voices Heard Voices Matter. "It was typical of the community. Seeing the ice man, the produce man and many other vibrant things happening as everyday life as we knew it," said Reese. [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]

The Institute on Black Life at the University of South Florida, the city of St. Petersburg and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg also contributed to the effort.

A jogger rums past the completed “Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park Mural” at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg as seen on Friday, December 10, 2021
A jogger rums past the completed “Imagine Gas Plant & Laurel Park Mural” at the Campbell Park Recreational Center in St Petersburg as seen on Friday, December 10, 2021 [ BOYZELL HOSEY | Times ]

The public is invited to observe the festivities, while family and direct descendants of neighborhood residents are encouraged to register and participate.