Keeping with the weird and stylish ways of all things St. Petersburg, the 80+ SHINE murals created by local, national, and international artists have been turned into a Drive-In Theater Art Gallery experience which (like the Burg) is unique in all the world. In this article, you’ll learn why and how the Drive-In Mural Theater exists as well as how to use it once you’ve gassed up and gotten your ride ready to roll.
The Basics of the Drive-In Mural Theater
Although these same rules can be followed for any mural in the SHINE gallery, we’ve created this PixelStix Map especially curated with murals easily enjoyed through a Drive-In experience. With one exception, all murals in this Map are paired together so that you can enjoy two murals at one parking before moving on to the next group. Due to the nature of murals and street art, there is no determined entrance or exit point so you can begin wherever you like.
Step by Step:
- Download and open the free PixelStix app.
- Enter the Drive-In Mural Theater by selecting the map icon > select Popular > select or search #mural_theater.
- Drive to any of the murals on the Map and park your car where you and your audience have a good view of the mural.
- Select the small PixelStix logo on the map for your location to display information about this mural.
- Select the ‘View Content’ tile to launch the docent info about this mural.
- To listen to the docent narration select ‘Listen in Browser’ on the SoundCloud widget.
- When you’re ready, hit the back button twice in the PixelStix app to return to the Drive-In Mural Theater Map so you can drive to the next one!
- If you phone goes to sleep after a short period of inactivity, you may want to set it not to go to sleep automatically for uninterrupted viewing.
- Configure your phone to connect to your car’s Bluetooth if that’s available so that the docent tour is heard clearly by everyone in your vehicle.
- Always park your car in a place that is not violating laws or obstructing pedestrians from doing their St Pete thang.
After you’ve gotten used to enjoying the murals in this Drive-In fashion, you may wonder is this a Drive-In, is it a Self-Guided Tour, or is this an Art Gallery? Actually, it’s all 3! The basics are that you are going to use the PixelStix app to help guide you around the city to each mural location – similar to how a self guided tour works. There you are going to park your car in such a way that the expanse of the mural is in front of you for all to see – similar to how a drive-in works. Then you are going to use that same app to launch a 3 to 5 minute explanation of the mural – similar to an art gallery.
What makes this possible?
The 80+ murals that have been curated by the SHINE Mural Festival over the past 5 years have been outfitted with a new technology that allows each mural to contain a 3 to 5 minute narration about the mural and the artist that created it. Just like you might use a similar technology in a museum or art gallery, this means that anyone at their own pace can visit the mural and obtain a deeper level of appreciation and understanding.
We’d like to say that creating this new way to enjoy murals in our city was something we did intentionally when bringing the mural network online in St. Petersburg, but honestly it wasn’t. The fact of the matter is that Florida is a very toasty place and we were busy in the summer of 2019 assembling, configuring, programming, and installing all of the plaques onto each of the murals that now makeup the mural network. Between the oppressive heat and the rains that we would experience on an almost daily basis, it became apparent that having to leave the comforts of an air conditioned car to touch one’s phone to a plaque wasn’t always ideal. Furthermore, some of the SHINE murals aren’t easy to walk up to, so accessing the plaque and tapping your phone to it can be challenging.
[One of the 9 murals you’ll find on the SHINE Drive-In Mural Theater – ‘Return to the Sea’ by Nomad Clan. Photo by Edel Mohr]
We hope you enjoy the SHINE murals of St. Petersburg in this new and peculiar way. To learn more about the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and the SHINE Mural Festive click here. Please consider supporting them to show your appreciation for providing this gallery as a free gift for residents and guests to our city by donating here. If you’d like to learn more about PixelStix’s mural network click here.