Melting Pot Social, located at our community AVE Tampa Riverwalk, engaged Tampa-based artist Illsol to create a captivating mural on an exterior wall at the property as a gift to the Downtown Tampa community. Video footage documenting the process shows the blank canvas transform into a vibrant Gasparilla themed mural. Illsol (Tony Krol) has decades of experience in painting large-scale murals and is also an art consultant, curator, founder of CLRTY, a mission-aligned creative placemaking and cultural asset development firm. Illsol has been an active member of the Tampa arts community for decades, and for the last 10 years has also led Mergeculture Gallery in artist representation and collection building.
Tony wanted to create something culturally significant that would resonate with locals and tourists alike, but also capture the city's energy and vibrancy. He chose to depict a stunning Gasparilla ship sailing in vibrant blue waters, symbolizing the excitement and energy of the Gasparilla season. Every year from January until mid-March, Tampa celebrates the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar’s invasion of Tampa Bay, marking the start of two months of pirates, parades, and festivities. Through this painting, Tony aimed to bring the city's dynamic character to life, creating a free local attraction for the community to enjoy. He loves how collaborations like these showcase the city's commitment to supporting the arts and fostering creativity.