The power of art

ST. PETERSBURG — Bringing a message of love and education, local artist Elaine Chambliss is on a mission to share inspiring messages through art.

“My goal is to promote inspiring message of hope to those encouraged by the transformational power of art,” said Chambliss.

By combining her professional drafting skills with painting, Chambliss’ first mural was created on her garage door. The “Power of Love” mural was created with leftover house paint and acrylics in 2012. 

The mural, which displayed biblical scriptures, inspired a few of her neighbors to get to know God’s principals. She would pick different scriptures and paint over the garage door to create new messages.

“The response in the neighborhood was surprising. People from every walk of life expressed their appreciation for the messages in the art,” said Chambliss.  

Her garage door became a landmark in a neighborhood. Chambliss said her brother warned her that she would get mixed messages from the mural, and he was correct.

“Although I can’t recall hearing anything negative, I did witness a woman getting out of her car and rolling around on the ground in her dress with her arms raised over her head. She simply stated, ‘This is holy ground.'”

Chambliss said her goal is to promote a better image of the African-American community through a positive portrayal of black heritage. In the piece “Vision of Hope,” she captures part of the hurt, and the pain black people have experienced locally and nationally.

“The hand in the portrait is symbolic of the unlimited power God has to reach us in every situation. Even though the artwork expresses images of our struggling culture, it gives us hope at the top of the mountain as we remember Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s dream.”

Chambliss was chosen to paint a 13-foot tall mural on an empty lot located on the corner of Fifth Avenue South and 28th Street.  She applied to paint a mural, and the Warehouse Art District Association chose the location.

“I was excited because it gave me the opportunity to display encouraging cultural art in my own community,” she stated.

Her final artwork is a representation of strength, transitioned from strong supporting parents to the children. The father figure supports both the weight of the world and the responsibility of raising a child. The mom has the role of being strong, confident, and loving, while also supporting the weight of the world and raising a child. 

The boy is groomed for living independently, and his parent’s strength is renewed in the child at the top of the mural. 

“My display of art supports those with a mission of cultivating communities through education and success, with emphasis on love for our children and family. A portion of my work is designed for those who provide service to youth and family such as nonprofits, youth development and leadership, counselors and phycologists.”  

Chambliss’ first showing was displayed in her community at Catherine Weaver’s Uniquely Original Art Studio. Next, as an emerging artist in 2016 For Members Only Art show at Studio@620 in downtown St. Pete.  

Staff members at the Pinellas County Urban League have purchased her art to display in their office, and St. Joseph’s Catholic Church has displayed paintings for seasonal celebrations such as the Immaculate Conception and Christmas. 

The Warehouse Arts District Association, however, gave Chambliss a wider audience with a mural opportunity in the Dome Industrial Project. This Saturday, she will be celebrating with five other artists at the “Off the Dome” showing at the Tully-Levine Gallery at The ArtsXchange, 515 22nd St. S. Their work will be on display through April.  

Chambliss also received an invitation to be on the mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs committee for the Shore Acres Recreation Center, which she feels confirms the power of her art. 

“My commitment is to empower people through transformational art, to elevate their standards for generations to come is now a reality.”

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