Large Glass Mural to Adorn Building on St. Pete Beach

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St. Pete Beach, on the west coast of Florida, has long been recognized for its beautiful beaches and stunning sunsets. Now it will have a new claim to fame - an 8' tall by 20' wide glass mosaic mural created entirely by volunteers from the surrounding communities.

The mural will adorn the east side of the Suntan Art Center next door to the world-famous Don CeSar Hotel. Glass artist and instructor Pat Chase, who currently serves as the president of the Suntan Art Center, came up with the idea to create a mural out of glass.

"[The Suntan Art Center] used to be a Firehouse with large windows out front. When they did the remodel, they took out the windows, leaving a large indented area that looks like a frame for the mural," Pat said.

Pat approached nationally recognized artists Frank Saso and Libit Jones about a design for the mural. Together, and with input from other artists and members of the community, the two created the finished concept. The mural includes images that are meaningful to the community - dolphins at play, a large pelican, sandcastle and shovel, stunning sea turtles and more. A painting of the final design is pictured above.

Since March 2011, a group of volunteers has gathered every Tuesday night to place small colored glass tiles on a portion of the mosaic mural. Ten to 15 people can finish two of the 20 sections in an evening. The tiles are cut from larger pieces of glass by Pat's art glass students. Portions of the mural, like the turtles' shells, will be fused in a kiln before installation to add some texture to the project. Delphi Glass is proud to have donated the glass for the fused portions of this project. (Delphi Marketing Director Monika Smolarczyk with Suntan President Patricia Chase, pictured left.)

Later, each segment of the mural will be grouted and affixed to the facade of the building. The mural will serve as an impressive welcome to St. Pete Beach. The project began in March and is set to be installed in the Fall. The ribbon cutting will take place in November.

Volunteer Claire Cummings says she is thrilled to be part of the project because she believes in the power of public art to bring people together for their community.

More than 40 years ago, Suntan Art Center was created to support the artists of St. Pete Beach, Florida. It is a non-profit organization offering classes and exhibits for the community. Visit their gift shop featuring impressive local art and jewelry - open M-F 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. For more information on the Suntan Art Center, please call 727.367.3818. View scenes from the creation of the mural project.

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Julie Bedford

Julie Bedford

Julie graduated from the University of Florida with a degree in Communications. She worked as a marketing director and graphic designer before coming to work for Delphi as social media manager. Her mother is an artist and inspired Julie's love for art and creativity at a young age. Her hobbies include writing, crafting and social networking.