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Citrus mural brightens Dunedin building
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Artist Steve Spathelf and Dr. Kathleen Soe stand beside a mural painted on the wall of Soe’s office at 725 Virginia St.
DUNEDIN – A local artist continues to leave colorful reminders of the citrus industry’s heyday on buildings in Dunedin.

Steve Spathelf, a local artist, painted a mural, based on the Honeymoon Isle fruit crate label, on the wall of Dr. Kathleen Soe’s office, which is Virginia Street Dermatology, 725 Virginia St.

The mural was unveiled June 12 during a gathering at Soe’s office.

Spathelf has collected and has been inspired by the designs of vintage citrus crate labels for years.

“Part of my plan is to have these orange crate labels plastered all over the town,” said Spathelf, who spent about two weeks on the project. Another large citrus-related mural is painted on a building wall off Broadway.

Spathelf and Dunedin businesswoman Marsha Goins secretly painted “loose” oranges around downtown at 5 a.m., April 13, 2009, to see what reaction they would get to having orange related public art in Downtown.

The response was said to be overwhelming, generating media attention to downtown Dunedin.

Dunedin’s links to the citrus industry date back to the early 1880s until the early 1950s, when there were many groves in the city. The Skinners and Douglas families had several labels designed. The Skinner company made orange concentrate around the time of World War II.

“It’s quite a beautiful mural,” said Lynn Wargo, president of the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce. “Dr. Soe has done an amazing job renovating her entire office, inside and out.”

After moving to the Tampa Bay area of Florida 25 years ago, Spathelf started to paint professionally. His first murals were on children’s walls in the homes of friends. He then later presented his portfolio to interior designers and obtained commissions to paint hundreds of murals in area communities.

Coincidentally, the mural project coincides with planning for the Orange Festival, which will be held Saturday, July 12, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. at Edgewater Park, 54 Edgewater Drive.

The event features games and entertainment for all ages, a mojo cookoff, silent auction for orange bonnets, food, craft beer and a duck derby.

Visit or call 474-3783.
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