With its three decks of concrete, downtown Pensacola’s Jefferson Street parking garage is nothing to look at — at least not yet.
But two local artists plan to change that.
This year, local artists Evan Levin and Ashton Howard hope to spend several weeks covering the outside of the three-story garage with several intertwined murals — one paying homage to Pensacola’s Spanish heritage, another symbolizing the pride of Pensacola’s own Blue Angels, and yet another paying tribute to the man who discovered the City of Five Flags — Tristan de Luna.
“Evan and I have been involved with Foo Foo Fest for more than two years,” Howard said. “We did a painting on the Graffiti Bridge and last year we were commissioned for another project downtown. As things progressed we’ve always thought about large scale public art and we said let’s apply for a grant.”
Howard said both he and Levin thought about parking garages as their canvas and looked to see what other cities had done with public art.
“I said this could be really neat to have something like this in downtown Pensacola,” recalled Howard.
The artists hope to secure the $88,000 it will cost from a local grant provided by local non profit organization Art, Culture and Entertainment, Inc. ACE puts on the annual Foo Foo Fest, a 12-day mixture of art and cultural events held in downtown Pensacola each November.
The paintings on the city-owned garage will be big enough to be seen by drivers coming into downtown via Interstate 110 — taking up 3,100 square feet. Each is meant to nod to the culture and history nearby: Spanish explorer Don Tristan de Luna, the Spanish national flag, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, and the historic Civil War-era Fort Pickens.
“It’s a very modern design but at the same time it tells the history of Pensacola,” Howard said.
Howard and Levin will present their plans before the Downtown Improvement Board this week, having already recieved tentative approval from the city’s Architectural Review Board.
“We just need their blessing,” Howard said. “We just love this place. We’re proud to live here.”