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Local artist paints oranges on hundreds of Dunedin homes

Dunedin Oranges
Posted at 4:49 AM, Jul 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 08:19:28-04

DUNEDIN, Fla.  — It's almost like a fun game of eye spy, how many oranges can you find on Dunedin buildings?

The answer — just over 900, currently.

Local artist Steve Spathelf got the idea during the economic downturn in the early 2000s. He paints murals for a living and business was slowing down.

"I thought a good theme for murals downtown Dunedin would be the orange crate labels because we're part of the orange history here in Florida. And the orange crate labels are fun and funky," says Spathelf.

But, there was an issue of who was going to pay for it. So, Spathelf and another local artist decided what to do next.

"So around 5:31 that morning, we had an assembly line going downtown painting oranges along the sidewalk. And by the time the sun came up, we did half a dozen of them. And then we just sat back just to see what would happen," says Spathelf.

"I was walking my dog downtown in the evening and young families walking around with the kids go up. There's another one. I mean, it was like an Easter egg hunt or something, people were looking for the oranges. And I thought we're not going to get in trouble for this. And then during that time, people were putting signs out there beside their windows saying please paint an orange here," says Spathelf.

And today, Spathelf is coming close to painting 1,000 oranges. One that he'll finally put on his own house.

"I mean, it's surpassed my wildest expectations. But I feel very proud. But you know, that means it's the sense of community. It's what made Dunedin and that people want me to paint and one just I find, you know, it's a cool thing. So like I said, it's not what I expected, because I wanted it to lead to orange crate labels being painted. But hey, everyone wants a little orange on their house. That's cool," says Spathelf.

The waitlist for oranges is pretty long. But you can join the list by reaching out to him, here.