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Fruit Crate Mural Squeezes In from the Past

Artist Steve Spathelf and a new foundation for art and history preservation worked together to pay homage to Dunedin's orange-manufacturing heritage.

Dunedin's finally accomplished his dream.

Steve Spathelf, finally, after two years of spreading orange art appreciation to the , got to paint what he originally hoped. A fruit crate label.

Spathelf joined together with The Dunedin Chamber Cultural & Education Foundation, a year-old nonprofit that promotes the preservation and education of public art, for a mural that would pay homage to the city's orange-manufacturing heritage.

Spathelf said, he's always been fascinated with the old labels.

"I just think they’re cool," he said.

The orange crate labels fueled his desire to paint them and two years ago, he set in motion a citywide orange craze.

Spathelf began secretly painting oranges on businesses about two years ago. Dunedin fell in love with them. Soon after, he revealed his identity and has since continued, taking on orange paintings as he's commissioned. He's up to 131 paintings. The 100th orange went up on the on April 23. He is also known for and the postcard mural outside Thorton, Donoghue & Associates on Main Street.

The new mural is a replica (with some artistic liberties) of a label that's on display at the , he said. It is on the outside wall of Stirling Commons (next to and ) and was officially unveiled with a small ceremony on Dec. 7.

"At least it’s appealing," Spathelf said, and "it’s part of art history." (Again.)

Dawn Catacchio December 08, 2011 at 06:36 PM
Yes, I have seen it. Beautiful job, Steve! Nice turnout for the unveiling too, despite the cold, windy, rainy weather!
Sara Mullins December 08, 2011 at 09:06 PM
Big fan of your work Steve! Can't wait to see what's next...
Denise Gabbard December 08, 2011 at 10:06 PM
Wonderful! Can't wait to see it in a few weeks.
Katie Dolac December 09, 2011 at 01:05 AM
Love the photo! Thanks for adding!
Lindsay December 09, 2011 at 01:26 PM
I love your oranges all over the city, Steve! I've often wondered who paints them, they add a wonderful, unique touch to our beautiful city. And this mural is gorgeous!
rick barasso December 09, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Steve, as you know, I've been a big fan for years. Your work is amazing! It is always so realistic. I feel healthier just looking at the oranges. I'd write a poem about your dunedin artistry, but nothing rymes with orange. If you were to paint an orange tree, I would be free, To write a rune of thee.

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