The streets connecting the downtown Bradenton area to the Village of the Arts are going to become a little more eye-catching.
Felici Asteinza, of Panama City, and Joey Fillastre, of Lakeland, known as Milagros Collective, along with fellow artist Kale Roberts, of Texas, will work to transform the intersection of 12th Street West and 9th Street West from a traditional street to a colorful invitation into the Village of the Arts. It’s the first time they’ve worked in Bradenton.
“What is unique about this project is the fact that the art is applied directly to the street with commercial-grade thermoplastic, which is better known as road striping material,” said Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, in a release.
The group was selected to create and install the street-applied art by a panel of local artists and residents appointed by the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority’s Public Art Advisory Board, according to a release announcing the project.
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A call for artists went out in April 2016, and in July, Milagros Collective was selected for the project. Asteinza said they heard about the opportunity over the internet.
The group of artists met in graduate school and have collaborated on projects before, including the painted pick-up truck, soon-to-be traveling art exhibit, they drove to the job site.
The design, they said, is one of their signatures. Asteinza, Fillastre and Roberts said it will create “visual connectivity” between downtown and the village.
“It’s almost like radio waves,” Roberts said. “They radiate out from the center, it’s a connectivity point.”
The artists expect the project to take up Monday and Tuesday nights, and they’ll work 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. to avoid traffic as much as possible.
Milagros Collective and Roberts said they originally thought it would take much longer than two nights to get the work done.
“I thought it would take two weeks,” Asteinza said.
So to prepare for the two-night project, they’ve had to plan ahead. Fillastre said they’ve worked with the thermoplastic material before, but never on such a large scale.
“Just think about the process and understand how the material works,” Fillastre said. “Planning it out from step one and what to do to stay on task.”
One of the issues they have to plan around is plotting what part of the design goes down first and laying out a “fabric” on the ground.
Monday night, the crew set to work laying out the pattern along the streets and working with a blow-torch-like devise to melt the patterned material to the asphalt.
The project is the second installation of public art along Old Main Street that aims to draw people from Old Main Street into the Village of the Arts.
Realize Bradenton is also developing an interactive, GPS-enabled website, WalkBradenton.com, that will identify over 58 pieces of public art, 25 historical sites, and 145 places to eat, play and stay in addition to the public art installations. Users can be expected to be guided through downtown with their smart phone starting spring of this year.