ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Some may choose to call it graffiti. But this town proudly declares it an art scene, where the wall of a U-Haul store can serve as the backdrop for a large painting.
Passers-by can currently find these creative expressions on the exterior of local companies in St. Petersburg, as opposed to being hidden in the bowels of buildings.
Fourteen downtown businesses participated in the SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival from Sept. 1-12. The goal was to transform ordinary city walls into extraordinary creations from a variety of world-renowned artists.
One of the businesses to welcome a new look was U-Haul Moving & Storage at Tropicana Field, located at 975 2nd Ave. S.
U-Haul was selected for a mural by Hitnes, an internationally renowned Roman street artist who has painted breathtaking pieces of wildlife across the globe, including Australia, China, Europe, Mexico and Russia. Hitnes’ inspiration for this mural was Tampa Bay’s Roseate Spoonbill, which he saw not only as a beautiful depiction of nature, but of Florida’s culture.
Hitnes will add this piece to his portfolio as he retraces John James Audubon’s 1830s historical trek across 15 states, while documenting and painting murals of native birds along the way.
James Beck, general manager at the U-Haul store, was thrilled to be a part of the mural festival and said it brought a lot of foot traffic to the downtown area. Beck added that while most people may know about the store and what U-Haul is about, it is nice for the people to see the business take part in community events.
“It was great for the store and the community,” Beck said. “It was really nice to bring some light to the neighborhood.”
The U-Haul Moving & Storage at Tropicana Field contributed to the event by providing U-Box portable moving and self-storage containers for all of the artists. All of the businesses involved were within a close radius of one another, which allowed U-Haul to provide addition materials that the artists needed.
The U-Haul store was an ideal spot for one of the murals because of its large wall and location. Just across the street is a park where people can relax on a bench and look at the art.
“Many people come by to look at the mural and to take photos of it,” Beck said.
Since U-Haul Moving & Storage at Tropicana now has a decorative bird on the side of its wall, it makes the perfect backdrop to become U-Haul famous. Take your picture in front of a U-Haul product, send it in and your face could land on the side of a U-Haul truck. Upload your photo to Instagram using #uhaulfamous, or go to uhaulfamous.com to submit photos and learn more.
Aside from the marvelous mural, U-Haul Moving & Storage at Tropicana Field offers trucks, truck sales, trailers, towing equipment, pre-tow inspection, U-Box warehouse, support rental items, storage, hitches, forklifts, boxes, propane and express check-in.
The SHINE festival marks the second instance this year where the side of a U-Haul store has been utilized as a canvas. Click here to read about our involvement in the New York Times Magazine “Walking New York” project.