Pensacola Magazine

Canvassing the Community

Five New Murals Brighten the Tanyard Neighborhood

Public art has the ability to foster a sense of community, beautify public spaces, express historical and cultural identity and inspire creativity and wonder. Pensacola is home to a number of vibrant murals that serve as a powerful tool for making our community a more vibrant, engaging and meaningful place to live.

A group of local artists recently brightened up Pensacola’s Tanyard District with five new mural installations along the Barrancas corridor as part of the 2nd annual Pensacola Mural Fest (in conjunction with Foo Foo fest). Local muralists and Tanyard neighborhood residents came together to host the first Pensacola Mural Fest (formerly First City Mural Fest) in 2022. The results were so spectacular that, in 2023, a number of businesses along the Barrancas corridor between Garden and Main streets offered their walls for full-scale murals. Pensacola Magazine had the opportunity to showcase these new murals and to speak with each of the local artists to learn more about the inspiration behind their work.

Artist: HAND IN HAND (Andrew and Sarah McWilson)

Title: Float

Location: Posner Marine, 1710 Barrancas Ave.


“Learning to float with the currents of life. It’s a story of family–of home here along the Gulf Coast. Inspired by a personal photograph taken in the early 90s on the sound side of Pensacola Beach, where many of us learned to swim. It’s the feeling of life alongside. It’s multi-generations of women: the maternal bond. It’s connection — with each other, with this place and with the water. A connection we hope anyone can find themselves in. It’s our intention to capture a feeling and give the viewer something to unpack. We do this by painting real moments. Floating has been our own life theme lately. Floating is letting go. It’s trusting the currents of this existence and not resisting them. It’s leaning into the vastness of the unknown. It’s being human in this wild ride. We’re always learning.”

Artist: Eniko Ujj

Location: Kingfisher Restaurant, 1500 Barrancas Ave.


“For the design of this mural, I decided to lean on the idea of the desire for escapism. To achieve this, I took flora and fauna that are native and have historical ties to this area, and painted them in a semi-undersea dreamscape using differing styles of painting. I wanted to play with the idea of mixing reality with the imaginary, so I painted the mullet fish changing from realistic to cartoon-ish, the fish swimming among palm fronds and firebush flowers done in a combination graphic/realistic style. Mullet, considered the people’s fish, has a very important history to Pensacola. It is a cultural symbol and staple food for various communities, fostering connections between people and the marine environment. As a crucial source of sustenance for many working-class communities throughout the history of Florida, the mullet served as a currency exchanged for goods and connected people across racial and class lines.”

Artist: Drake Arnold

Location: Pearl and Horn, 1504 W. Intendencia St.


Title: Trophic Cycle

“This painting represents a journey through an example of a food chain in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The first panel shows the sun, the primary energy source in most food webs. Next is a phytoplankton, which is a microscopic plant that photosynthesizes the sunlight. Then we have a zooplankton, a microscopic animal-like creature which eats the phytoplankton. In the fourth panel is an eastern oyster, which feeds by filtering plankton out of the water. As the food chain continues, the blue crab eats eastern oysters, the ocellated moray eel eats the blue crab and the hammerhead shark, representing the apex predator in this food chain, eats the moray eel. Finally, the last panel features a royal starfish. The starfish is part of a class of species of decomposers, who help to process all that remains and return the nutrients back to the earth, for the cycle to start over again.”

Artist: Monty Welt

Location: American Legion 33, 1401 W. Intendencia St.

Contact: @montywelt

“My mural for the American Legion Post 33 was roughly 800 square feet and was completed over the course of five days using spray paint. It features patriotic subjects such as Captain Frank Marston (who the post is named after), the Blue Angels and a bald eagle. I’m thankful for the opportunity to work with the veterans of American Legion Post 33 as they continue restoring the building back to its former glory. Excited to see the future for the Pensacola Mural Festival as well, as it continues to grow and work towards bringing fresh, large scale art to the community of Pensacola.”

Artist: Banks Compton

Location: Merchants Paper Co., 1800 Barrancas Ave.


“My mural tells the personal story of the family owners of Merchants Paper Co., a business with nearly a century of history. The vintage-themed artwork features an old truck that has paper products flying out the back, a nod to the business’s longstanding presence in west Pensacola. The main character and mascot of the business is the family golden retriever, Piper. You can meet her and pet her inside the building during business hours. As an Alabama artist, I’ve added camellia flowers for a personal touch to enhance the surroundings and add some southern charm to the mural. This mural was a huge undertaking with incredible response from the community.”