Pedestrians and motorists passing the city parking garage on 12th St. W. in downtown Bradenton will be greeted by a new mural that will cover the northwest side of the three-story structure. Commissioned by Realize Bradenton, the new mural is part of six new pieces of public art that will expand the City’s current collection of 50, and act as a wayfinding guide to draw pedestrians through Old Main Street and into the Village of the Arts.
Eduardo Mendieta, an artist from West Palm Beach, FL, was selected to paint the mural by a panel of local artists and residents appointed by the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority’s Public Arts Advisory Board. Mendieta has painted numerous murals along the east coast of Florida, including the City of West Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale.
The bold mural will span nearly the entire northwest corner of the garage, including the stair tower, and will feature vivid colors. Mendieta chose a vibrant, swirling background in his artwork to represent optimism and the bright future of the City. The central figure of the mural, a young person cupping their hands and holding a germinating seed, symbolizes the future, community, and development of downtown Bradenton.
In April of 2016, a request for qualifications invited artists with professional experience to create a mural for the parking garage. Artists were asked to draw inspiration from Bradenton-area Millennials who, as part of Realize Bradenton’s PopUps for a Purpose project funded by the Knight Cities Challenge, engaged in a process of envisioning the future of the City. In July 2016, the Public Arts Advisory Board chose Mendieta to begin work on the new mural, beginning Feb. 6, 2017.
In addition to adding to the public art collection, Realize Bradenton is beta testing WalkBradenton.com, an interactive website that identifies over 56 pieces of public art, 25 historical sites, and 145 other points of interest on a map, and guides users to explore these downtown assets. “With the growing number of quality public art pieces, as well as the Village of the Arts, downtown Bradenton is quickly becoming a destination for art enthusiasts,” said Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. “WalkBradenton.com will connect visitors and residents with downtown’s public art, historical sites, the Riverwalk, Old Main Street, and over 145 places to eat, play, and stay,” Isham further explained. WalkBradenton.com will launch in spring of 2017.
Major sponsors of Walk Bradenton include the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, and Mosaic.