‘Heights Walls’ Murals Add ‘Color and Life’

                              Murals by local artists bring a “bit of color and life” to the walls outside                                    of Cafe Hey, 1540 N Franklin St, Tampa/Photo by Hannah J. Farrow     

By Hannah J. Farrow, AliveTampaBay Correspondent

The go-to destination for wall art in the Tampa Bay area has been St. Pete—there’s even a map of the murals to find your favorites and take photos. But as development continues in the City of Tampa and surrounding neighborhoods, the art scene in Tampa follows suit, especially in Tampa Heights.

A lot of thanks can be given to the organization Heights Walls, founded in fall 2017, by the mural duo Illsol: Michelle Sawyer and Tony Krol, who also curate Merge Culture gallery.

“Heights Walls is a community oriented mural initiative,” Sawyer said. “[It’s] a very purpose-driven mural endeavor focusing on strategic placement and community impact.”

The first project Heights Walls tackled was the Cafe Hey shutter murals. Artists Cory Robinson Jujmo, Charles Gallagher, SooJin Brown, Tony Krol, Eric Goodnight and Sawyer herself all contributed to add “a bit of color and life” to the before-bland shutters. The artists are all local and have a connection to the area.

“We chose Cafe Hey as a starting point also because it, and Oceanic, has been a fixture on Franklin Street for years and we want them to succeed in this time of major change in the area,” Sawyer said. “The business was receiving fines for tags that were being sprayed on the shutters, so we pulled together a group of artists who had a history of showing work at the cafe to help beautify the strip.”

The second endeavor by Heights Walls was at Brew Bus Brewing, where nine local artists helped create the Heights Unites mural. As part of the Heights Unites Music and Art Festival, Heights Walls helped raise funds for local businesses and a scholarship in honor of the victims that suffered during the Seminole Heights murders.

“We were approached to do this as an Illsol only project,” Sawyer said, “but thought it would be a fitting Heights Walls project since the event itself was about unity and building up the community.”

Heights Walls continues to beautify Tampa’s walls with a community centric mindset, bringing creativity and color to the expanding city.


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