Q: What’s the story behind the artwork adorning some dumpsters downtown?
A: It’s the work of Mills 50, the nonprofit group of businesses and residents that promotes the district around Mills Avenue and Colonial Drive. Or we should say it’s the work of the artists brought on by Mills 50 to beautify objects that one might not immediately associate with providing an ideal canvas.
Since 2011, artists have painted original work on 29 transportation utility engineering boxes at intersections throughout the district. But, says Mills 50 director Joanne Grant, “We ran out of utility boxes, and I thought, ‘We’ve got to find some other things to paint.’ ’’ So she put out a call to spruce up 15 city-owned dumpsters used by businesses throughout the area and received 48 submissions from 32 artists. The first dumpster was painted live by Chris Kretzer during a district fundraiser in May at Will’s Pub (and now the dumpster resides there). It portrays an enthusiastic dumpster diver, complete with diving helmet.
For its art project, Mills 50 is trying to pick businesses due for replacement dumpsters soon at locations visible from a street, parking lot or alley. The city provides about $200 toward each project—a $100 stipend for the artist and $100 for materials and paint. It’s a win-win for the businesses. “They’re all getting a piece of public art and they don’t have to pay for it,’’ Grant says.
Those in line for dumpster art include Porter Paints, Quantum Leap Winery and Track Shack. Besides Kretzer, the artists whose works will grace the first round of dumpsters are Kelly Berry, Winter Calkins, Jeremy Carrus, Shannon Carrus, Crummy Gummy, Goose, Soco Freire, Cynthia Kuffel, Daniel Perry, Chris Tobar Rodriguez, Danny Rodriguez (Danny Rock), Patty Sheehan, Randall Smith and Megan Steward.
If you haven’t noticed, the Mills 50 district has become a real haven for outdoor art. Besides utility boxes and dumpsters, several buildings also bear artwork on their outside walls. Most notable are murals by Dolla Short at Will’s Pub and Andrew Spear at the IFixYouri phone repair service at Mills and Colonial.
Q: Why are lottery jackpot payoffs never as big as advertised?
A: Poor Gloria MacKenzie. Thirteen months ago, the 84-year-old Zephyrhills woman held the lone winning ticket for the $590.5 million Powerball prize. Yet she ended up with a measly lump sum of $370.8 million. Where did all that money go? Essentially, to the future.
The whopping advertised Powerball jackpot is based on what you would receive if you chose 30 annual annuity payments, including accumulated interest (the annuity is also 30 years for Lotto and Mega Millions, 20 years for Mega Money). Lottery officials invest in pretty safe securities, such as U.S. Treasury bonds, so this is why nearly every jackpot winner, including MacKenzie, has chosen the immediate lump sum payout: The odds are pretty good that you can find a better yield over the years than the lottery department. Of course, if you tend to blow through cash very quickly or want to ensure that guaranteed annual income, then the annuity might be for you.
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