MAKE Plant City and Plant City Main Street have partnered up to create a canvas art project. Artists are invited to submit their pieces in hopes of having them hung on massive canvases throughout historic downtown. Submissions are due Sept. 30.
Downtown will soon be vibrant once more thanks to a partnership between MAKE Plant City and Plant City Main Street.
The two organizations are working together to bring a canvas art project to life. Mirroring the success of a similar project in Lakeland, the project will allow artists to submit their proposed art pieces to a panel comprised of representatives from a variety of groups in the community, including the Improvement League, the Boys and Girls Club of Tampa and the Woman’s Club of Plant City. If selected, those artists will then come to town and paint their pieces on a massive canvas that will be treated to essentially be weatherproof, then hung downtown.
“As far as Main Street is concerned, as part of the design committee we have been working on getting murals downtown,” Lizzette Sarria, treasurer of Main Street, said. “We were asking, ‘What can we do to get some public art downtown?’ And with the mural ordinance, we had to look at our other options. We decided to go visit David Collins in Lakeland, who had done a temporary canvas project there that was very successful. We thought that would be a great way for us to get the art in downtown in a way that everyone would be on board with. Then the natural collaboration was for us to partner with MAKE because that group really involves so many artists in our community.”
MAKE Plant City, a local group of creatives and makers, agreed and the work began to juggle all the interconnected and moving parts to make the project a reality. The City of Plant City agreed, as did many of the business owners throughout downtown, and it is now finally time for artists to send in their proposals.
Arley Smude and Vicky Saunders, founding members of MAKE, scoped out downtown and identified more than 80 potential locations for the art to hang. Obviously the first phase of this project will only cover a fraction of those spots, but the hope is that it will be a massive success which will lead to future expansions.
No two pieces will be alike, as each canvas will vary in size depending on the wall upon which it will be hung as well as the dynamics of the painting that will cover it. There are a handful of parameters the artists are asked to stay within, but the rest is entirely left to their vision.
The art must be scalable from a [4’W x 4’H] to [12’W x 9’H] and cannot include any content that is political, religious, profane, features nudity or obscenities. Artists will be compensated upon approval from the Paint Plant City panel. Submissions are due Sept. 30 and then the panel will review the submissions and get back to the artists that have been selected by the end of October.
The timeline of how long each piece will remain up will vary based off of the wishes of the building owners. However, Sarria said the project will have taken a year to complete before a single painting is hung and they are hoping they can remain in place for at least 12 months.
The Paint Plant City project will feature high-quality art from local artists and will temporarily have them erected at 10 to 15 locations in Phase 1. Smude said the only approach they have for artists is to create something that fully represents their style and theme. Then the best art that represents all pockets of the community will be selected. That art would compliment downtown and show Plant City is evolving.
“It’s visually going to improve the area,” Sarria said. “It’s gong to bring art downtown and it’s something to see. Otherwise it’s a blank slate, a blank wall and now there’s this art. I think it brings creativity to the entire community and forces people to look at things kind of differently… It tells people ‘Hey, change is coming and change can be good.’”
With the current mural ban in place, this is a creative solution to still improve and beautify downtown without going against any of the taboo restrictions the city has in place. Many have voiced opposition to the long outdated ban and there is a chance this project will show that art can positively change the community.
The hope is once the artists have been selected, there can be an event where the public can come watch the artists paint downtown and then, right before they are hung, there may be a gallery exhibit with each piece for the public to come and enjoy them all in one place. With this project kicking off in the middle of the pandemic, many of those possibilities are still up in the air.
Local artist Angie Klein created her canvas piece as an example of what the project will look like. It is currently hanging at Krazy Kup in the alley, 101 E. J. Arden Mays Blvd., for all who are looking for inspiration.
Artists who wish to submit their works can do at plantcitymainstreet.org/paintplantcity. If you have any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @PCMainStreet and @MAKEPlantCity for #PaintPlantCity project updates.