By most measures, the SHINE Fest was a success. Over a dozen artists created murals around the City of Saint Petersburg. Several are extremely colorful and decorative, a few are strong in composition, content and meaning. The city has been considerably art-ified by these (mostly) highly visible works. All were selected by the SHINE director, Leon Bedore.
Like any first year festival, there were some rough spots and complaints. Those are the subjects of this article.
Most recently, there was a Facebook post from John Taormina of ARTicles Gallery quoting Wayne Atherholt (City Arts Director) from an interview, quoting where he said that artists should be paid for participating in the festival, and paid directly. All of which is true, though hardly that simple. The City put up $25,000, sponsors raised that to around 30,000 (though I have not seen the accounting figs), Cities rarely make direct payments to artists, using non-profits to insulate themselves from many potential problems. John Collins' Arts Alliance served in this function. Non profits take money for their services, and AA did. Also the Ad Agency for the event.
But not the artists. Agencies prioritizing agencies instead of individuals is nothing new. At least funds paid for the housing, transport, lifts, food and paint used. The amount of money raised was almost minimal for a festival of this magnitude.
Many local artists have complained that they were excluded and that there was no call for artists for them to be considered. Others that the Fest Director, Leon Bedore (whose nom de spray is Tes One, although there was an earlier, original and well-known Tes One) did not return e-mails, or consider artists who were in the original "Leave a Message" show at the Morean.
There were only three women in SHINE, only two had their own walls/murals, Ya La' Ford and Carrie Jadus. The third was Klor, who collaborated with her husband. I asked Leon about Carrie Jadus' status because throughout the festival's duration she was not listed on the SHINE site, or publication. He said she was in SHINE, and right after I left Leon, I drove to Soft Water, and Carrie told me that as far as she knew, she was not part of it. This changed a few days later, and she was included in the SHINE site.
There should have been more women in SHINE. I'm not going to suggest a number, that is up to the organizers, just that three is really low.
The children who were in the educational aspect of SHINE, under the tutelage of Chad Mize, learned to paint and executed a mural of the SHINE design at the Amsterdam. This came down in about a month, disappointing the children, who had not been notified this would be the case.
Perhaps after the self- trumpeting quiets down, there should be a general meeting, open to the public, for these (and other) concerns to be voiced, recorded and hopefully acted upon before next year.