Pinellas Trail bench celebrates the art of painted rocks

Painted park bench on the Pinellas Trail

Margaret “Meps” Schulte was selected by the City of Dunedin to paint a colorful park bench, entitled “Dunedin Rocks,” for the Pinellas Trail, an urban greenway used by 1.5 million cyclists, walkers, and runners a year. Placed just north of the intersection with State Route 580, the trompe l’oeil design celebrates the practice of kindness rocks, painting artwork and messages on stones and placing them in public places for anyone to take.

“People who would never call themselves artists are not afraid to pick up a brush and paint a rock,” said Schulte, who lives in Dunedin, a few blocks from the newly-placed bench. “The next thing you know, they gain confidence and start making original art. The practice of sharing these rocks in public places encourages Gifting and Radical Self-Expression, which are two of the Ten Principles of Burning Man.”

The bench is placed between two of Schulte’s favorite restaurants, Eli’s Bar B Que and The Scone Age Bakery. The hands painted on the bench reflect the black and white ownership of the two businesses. The artist said, ” I envision people getting takeout from both restaurants and enjoying it on the bench placed between them. It’s a friendly, shaded spot where you can smile and say hello to people on foot, bicycle, or skateboard.”

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