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St. Nicholas Mural By Jacksonville Artist Takes Shape

Bill Bortzfield
Jacksonville artist Mary Joan Hinson (far right) works on the St. Nicholas mural with an apprentice (center) who did not wish to be named.

Drivers on Atlantic Boulevard heading east from San Marco are in for a colorful new visual treat.

A new mural taking shape in Jacksonville’s St. Nicholas neighborhood celebrates the community’s history.

Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
Mary Joan Hinson put together this prototype of the St. Nicholas mural in her studio.

Local artist Mary Joan Hinson was commissioned to create the mural by Dr. Rene Pulido on the side of the Emed Multispecialty Group’s building at 2624 Atlantic Boulevard, at the corner of Atlantic and Ridgewood Plaza. It's a highly trafficked area close to both the I-95 exit and to where Beach and Atlantic boulevards split.

“When Dr. Pulido put out the call for artists, I jumped right on it because I said: 1.) I live here. 2.) This is my community and, 3.) I wanted to see my work on this wall,” Hinson said.

Pulido is a native Jacksonvillian who lives in Empire Point, which is the neighborhood right next to St. Nicolas.

Hinson said she's been working on the mural for about two weeks and thinks it will take about three more weeks to complete.  

Longtime residents of the area may recognize landmarks or pieces of history, like the train station where people would hop on during the 1800s and early 1900s.

“The way you got to the beach was actually a train, and I painted the little train station. It’s very small, and we have it in St. Nicholas. And this was the way you got to the beach. So this is a historic road. And there’s so much history here,” she said.

Pulido, who specializes in graphite and oils, started out by creating a miniture of the mural in her studio. When she showed it to Pulido, he wanted a few changes.

“Dr. Pulido wanted to add a ’57 Chevy, which I did. When I originally designed it, it was more on the ground. He moved it 6 feet up off the ground for the lettering, because there would be cars parked under this,” she said.

Credit Bill Bortzfield / WJCT News
The words St. Nicholas are high enough off the ground that they will still be visible when cars are parked in front of the wall.

Hinson, a former art professor at Florida State College at Jacksonville, does a variety of work, including pet portraits. She also painted the mural at Fred Cotton’s Landmark BBQ in Springfield and has upcoming exhibitions of her studio work scheduled this summer in Jekyll Island and in the fall at the Jacksonville International Airport’s Haskell Gallery.

Follow her progress on the St. Nicholas mural on her Facebook page and see more of her work on her website.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.