LEALMAN — For years no one paid attention to the little plane building in the Lealman Exchange parking lot housing their emergency generator, but starting in 2022 some members of the community are now calling it a new landmark.
“When I first saw the wall I knew that it needed something bold, bright, colorful and that’s exactly what I went for,” said St. Pete artist Leo Gomez. “So the main thing for me was to create something that the community can enjoy and also something that they feel good about.”
The Pinellas County Board of Commissioners designated Lealman as a high priority community in 2022.
“This mural particularly is an effort to build a sense of place, create that character and identity for the community,” said Chris Moore, Assistant to the County Administrator.
It’s actually one of three new murals in Lealman that the county has commissioned with the help of Creative Pinellas.
“When the county calls and says, ‘we have a blank canvass we want an artist,’ I do a little happy dance,” said Barbara St. Clair, Creative Pinellas CEO. “You bring in art and people start to feel really good inside about who they are in their community and then they also start bragging ‘hey did you see that mural? Look what’s going on in Lealman.’”
Moore also said the location couldn’t be better.
“We get a lot of traffic in here, just the families dropping off kids at school, the pre-school academy every day there is a good flow of traffic, eyes are on it, there are a number of residents in the nearby area that walk every day and I’ve heard some good feedback from those folks,” said Moore.
Gomez hopes community center visitors take the time to ask questions and explore what every detail of the mural means.
“The blue jay is actually a symbol of loyalty and the hibiscus flower is a symbol of joy so I thought both were really good representations of what the community is here to do and how we want to represent Lealman moving forward,” said Gomez.