Road tattoos to revitalize West Palm Beach neighborhood
April 25, 2018
By Yeremi Farinas
If you’ve recently driven through downtown West Palm Beach, you may have noticed paintings on one particular street. Under the sun, Latashia Benjamin paints white flower petals on the hot roadway. “This is probably one of the biggest projects i have participated in,” Benjamin said.
She and other local artists are participating in a 1.2 mile road mural on Rosemary Avenue that stretches from Okeechobee Boulevard to 11th Street. The project is meant to connect different neighborhoods through a work of art. “To me, it’s totally awesome,” Benjamin said.
The man behind the design of the road tattoo is New York City artist Steed Taylor. “It’s realizing roads lead to homes,” Taylor said. “They lead to people we love. They lead to help.” Taylor showed us the themes showcased in the three color design: Florida native flowers, braided lines and music notes.
“Genii Loci is the name of the project and basically it means the spirits that are protecting the city, and closer that we get to the famous jazz club down there, it’s symbolizing all of the wonderful artists who performed there,” Benjamin said.
“You come out you see this road tattoo you see this visual creation and of course you are going to follow it,” said Sybille Welters, Art and Public Places Coordinator for the City of West Palm Beach.
Welters said the $260,000 project is private public partnership. The city will fund $160,000 and the rest will come from other participating entities. The funds covers the traffic paint, the artists, travel, lodging and expenses related to road closures.
The visual project is an effort to revitalize the Norhwest Historic neighborhood, while at the same time give local artists a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “If we can use funds to make a change, a visual change, even though it might be temporary and bring different people into play who normally wouldn’t have this opportunity, I think it’s a win,” Welters said.
“Any investment in the community and the neighborhood to make people come together is something that can’t be looked at in a monetary term,” Benjamin said. Even though it is called a road tattoo, it is not permanent and will likely last about two years.
The road tattoo is expected to be complete May 1.