Tarpon Springs: Hitting the Mother Lode

Mother Meres

“Her blue eyes sparkle when bathed in afternoon sunlight.
Her full lips bear an enigmatic Mona Lisa smile.
And she grips a bouquet of flowers that will never die.
Meet Mother Meres — the mural.”
–Terri Bryce Reves, Tarpon Springs Times

Never has turning a corner brought such delight! We were strolling Pinellas Avenue in Tarpon Springs, Florida, with our sights (and stomachs) set on a long-awaited gyro. At Tarpon Avenue something caught our eyes, glinting in the sun. When we pivoted to find the source, we uttered in unison, “Oh wow!”

We’d hit the “mother” lode.

Mural 2

Meet Tarpon Springs’ favorite matriarch – Amelia Petzold Meres – who arrived in 1882 and won the hearts of her neighbors through her good works and garden endeavors. Immortalized in tile and mirrors, and measuring in at 17 feet tall and 22 feet wide, the astounding mural adorns the side of the Meres building.

She is a gift to the city from the Garden Fairies, a group of community-minded, artistic gardeners who created the stunning public art installation.

Mural 3

“She’s undergone more facial augmentation than Joan Rivers.
At first, she looked beady-eyed and scary. We had to make her likable.”
–Siobhan Nehin, Garden Fairy

HumanitarianMural EggplantMural MirrorsGarden FairiesYea Baby

Move over Mona Lisa, looks like there’s a new chick in town!

Smiling all the way,


Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

21 thoughts

    1. Lisa, this mosaic really was very well done. It was incredibly detailed, and it must have taken some serious planning and diligent work to pull together. The high raised-relief ceramics were an excellent addition, and (as you can appreciate) the bright colors were wonderful. ~Terri

      1. hey
        thanks! the design itself was ‘spacial’ and painted itself! my biggest problem was ‘the dogs;’ one golden and one lab who were always smiling and happy to greet me, but wow, with my paints and wet paint – and there i was at ground level, when they came barreling through the courtyard, i took a goalie’s stance: “NO! – No! — Down! – Abajo!’ I taught one of the dogs the down command pretty fast!

    1. I agree Olga! She must have been one special woman for such an outpouring of love. And the artists are so talented – I love it that they included bits of mirror to add sparkle to the piece. 🙂 ~Terri

    1. Pam, it is so cool! It’s on the corner of Pinellas and Tarpon Avenues. There’s a parking lot in front of it and I think they do a Farmer’s Market there on the weekend. ~Terri

  1. I am a fan of murals… and what communities have done to enhance their towns and cities with them. So many, like Mother Meres, throw in a touch of history as well as art. Peggy and I are always on the look out for this new/ancient art form. (Pompeii is an excellent example of the ancient.) –Curt

    1. We are of like minds Curt. Some of my all-time favorites grace the floors of Ostia Antica outside Rome. The stone mosaics depict anything from the nature of a business to what went on in the public baths! ~Terri

  2. I loved what the garden fairy said about making her less beady-eyed and more likable. They did a great job. It reminded me of that story about the woman who tried to “fix” the 19th century fresco of Jesus. Except this story is the reverse of that. 🙂 How neat that the garden fairies got their own tiles.

    1. I totally cracked up when I read the quote about the beady eyes, Anita! And having tried my hand at portraits I knew exactly what they meant! The garden fairies were quite ambitious – they even decorated the dumpster enclosure! Now that’s putting public art to good use! 🙂 ~Terri

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