Art Strut in Downtown Fort Pierce

Take a stroll around downtown Fort Pierce to view a series of new murals dedicated to the majestic peacock

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Awena, by Samara Ash. Photo courtesy City of Fort Pierce
Awena, by Samara Ash. Photo courtesy City of Fort Pierce

According to St. Lucie County’s office of tourism, in the 1970s, a travel agent named Jack Crain introduced peacocks to the city of Fort Pierce when he housed a few of the showy birds in his backyard. Fifty years later, it’s common to come across the colorful birds strutting their stuff in the downtown area. Now the Fort Pierce Redevelopment Agency has unveiled a collection of new public art called the Peacock Arts District Mural Program, in honor of our feathered friends.

The agency put out a nationwide call to artists in March 2023 to propose designs depicting the past, present, and future of Fort Pierce. After reviewing 50 submissions from more than 30 artists, the agency chose three talented Florida women—Zoey Alyssa Bridges, Nicole “Nico” Holderbaum, and Samara Ash—to paint the exterior walls of four buildings with their visions. The completed murals—located at 500, 601, and 710 Orange Avenue and 616 Atlantic Avenue—were revealed in September.

“Peacocks are symbolic, so it’s really great to see them around the community,” says Zoey Alyssa Bridges, a Fort Pierce native who painted a colorful bird at 710 Orange Avenue, where the Lindsay School of the Arts is, among other murals. “They go through a metamorphosis, gaining these colorful feathers after they lose them, so there’s a lot to be taken away from the subject matter.”

Guardians of the Grove, by Zoey Alyssa Bridges. Photo courtesy of City of Fort Pierce
Guardians of the Grove, by Zoey Alyssa Bridges. Photo courtesy of City of Fort Pierce

Paying homage to the evolution of Fort Pierce from the time Native Americans inhabited the seaside town, Colombian-born artist Samara Ash spray-painted a stunning woman wearing a headdress of peacock feathers to symbolize the passage of time. Located at 616 Atlantic Avenue, the work is called Awena, the Native American word meaning “sunrise”—an apt title for a mural in “The Sunrise City.”

Fort Pierce redevelopment specialist Marsha Commond hopes the murals will continue not only to delight residents but also to bring awareness to visitors about the city. “We want to take advantage of the attention and use it as a platform to communicate who Fort Pierce is,” she says. 

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