Faith Miller

The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has announced plans to offer businesses and artists new mural opportunities around Lakeland.

Through a press release announcement on Jan. 29, the CRA announced that it will launch a new program that will add over 75 new murals around town. These new murals are going to be spread out across South Florida Avenue in the Dixieland and Downtown CRA districts. The new project is called the Dixieland Art Infusion and is available to businesses within the area.

Applications for the new additions became available to property owners on Feb. 15 and applicants were required to schedule a virtual pre-application consultation with CRA staff before applying.

“We’re excited about the buzz going into this and when it is all said and done, the facades will pop,”  CRA manager Alis Drumgo said in a press release.

According to the press release, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis.

Allyson Bar, owner of local antique store Low Country Vintage, has recently added a new mural to one of her larger outside walls through the initiative. The painting by Kate Hall is titled “Crape Myrtle Blossoms.”

“This is the way I look at it,” Bar said. “This town supports all these local businesses, and I feel like this is the way to give back to the artist and to the town.”

Bar explained that her and Hall worked together to come up with the mural design, that way they knew it would match the feeling of the shop. 

“She came in, we talked, looked around at the store,” Bar said. “[Hall]  got to know me, and then came up with what she thought would fit best with me and the store, and that’s how she got the Crape Myrtle Blossoms.” 

Bar explained that she believes that the mural has brought her new business and new customers that have kept her busy. She recommends the program to anyone in the area who is thinking of applying. 

Artists are recommended to submit their work through a portfolio or ideas for businesses to look through and make a selection. According to Damaris Stull, who commented on the process in an interview with ABC Action News, approved businesses then submit their three preferences of the artists they would like to work with.

The initiative is discussed to be a way for the Lakeland art community to come together with business owners to create new possibilities for them, community members and tourists.

“For this project, we created a set of color palettes inspired by Old Dixieland,” Drumgo said. “Art is a known contributor to revitalizing communities and we have a mission to add art to every redevelopment project.” 


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