Downtown Pensacola has been targeted for an artistic facelift thanks to a new project in the works from a collaboration of two public art groups in Pensacola.

Rachael Pongetti has been involved in creating awareness of public art in America’s First City for several years, with most of her efforts focused on photographing and memorializing the murals and memorials left on the iconic 17th Avenue train trestle in downtown Pensacola, famously known as Graffiti Bridge.

Now, Pongetti says, she’s expanding her involvement with the launch of a new public art project in the city, forming a collaborative partnership with her organization, the Pensacola Graffiti Bridge Project and a new recently launched group, Art Beyond Walls. The organizations are partnering to create a community mural project and memorial wall inspired by the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead.

Pongetti and organizers involved with the project, called  the “Gonzalez St. Project,” say they hope to create a public art mural that is inspired by the community and will be based on Pensacola and its people.  The group says the aim of the project is to invite anyone from the community to bring a photo or portrait of someone they’ve somehow connected with, whether it be a relative, a pet, a loved one, or celebrity. “We want people to interact with art,” says Pongetti. “For me personally, even if they aren’t artists, they can participate. They don’t have to be a Picasso.”

The event will be held Tuesday, November 3 at the First City Art Center, where participants will wheat paste their photos onto the walls of the Art Center along Gonzalez Street. Wheat-pasting is a method of applying materials — usually photos or paper — to a surface for display. “It’s not uncommon for wheat-pasted art to stay up for years,” Pongetti said. The group hopes by the end of Tuesday night, a large public mural will be created.

Pongetti says she has high hopes for the impact of the newest public art project in Pensacola. “We want to create original public art for Pensacola,” says Pongetti. “We really want to invite anyone to make an impact on public art here.”

The wall at First City Art Center has been prepped for Tuesday, when the community focused "Gonzalez St. Project" will take place from 4-7 p.m.. Participants are encouraged to bring a photo of a departed loved one that will be wheat pasted onto the wall, creating a full mural of remembrance. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

The “Gonzalez St. Project” will take place from 4-7 p.m this Tuesday. Participants are invited to bring a photo or portrait of a departed loved one that will be wheat pasted onto the wall, creating a full mural of remembrance. (Drew Buchanan/The Pulse)

According to the founders of Art Beyond Walls, the organization was formed in the Summer of 2015 and its mission is to create public murals and art that will engage, educate, and inspire the community.

For more information on Art Beyond Walls, follow their Facebook page.


Where: First City Art Center, 1060 N Guillemard St, Pensacola, FL 32501

When: Tuesday, November 3, 4-7 p.m.

What to bring: Photo or portrait of a deceased loved one, relative, pet or anyone you choose to honor. The photos will stay up for several months, so participants should bring laser printed images — not inkjet prints — to be pasted onto the wall.


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