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Art Snax: Public Art Speaker Series inaugural event, and other art events on local menu

While soaking in all of the public art in Tampa is wonderful, there is something special about getting a backstage pass to some insider information about the works.

As the inaugural educational series PASS: Your Guide to Public Art, join author Jeff Klinkenberg, artist-team Pep Rally (made up of Jay Giroux, Josh Pearson, and Greg Bryon), and Edgar Sanchez Cumbas at the Tampa River Center at Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park on August 22nd as they talk about their individual projects that have been inspired by this location.
“The City’s Art Programs Division, along with the Public Art Committee and the Public Art Alliance are very excited about initiating this program. We hope that it will provide a platform for discussion with artists, design professionals and community,” says Robin Nigh, manager of the City of Tampa Art Programs Division.
The event is free, but make sure to register to reserve your spot as there are a limited number of tickets available.
Other upcoming art events:
  • “Triangulate,” a traveling exhibition project that began with 27 pieces by nine international photographers, begins its inaugural tour at the Dunedin Fine Art Center and will make its way to China and Norway by 2019. On Aug. 10, photographer Robin Perry Dana and curator Nathan Beard will be hosting a discussion at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts about this project, as well as Dana’s project “White Clay.”
  • Those who live in Tampa have come to know (and love) our local murals. On Aug. 10, see other artists’ renditions of these murals in the exhibition “To Tampa with Love” at The Bricks in Ybor City. These works will feature the well-known public paintings of Nicole Abbett, the Laundry Project, Pep Rally, Illsol, the Vitale Bros, Boards for Bros, and Scumrag, among others.
  • Sultry, sporty, but also sympathetic to humanitarian needs, the 8th Annual Charity Showcase “Pole for a Purpose” is hitting the Straz Center on Aug. 11 with incredible feats of athleticism and acrobatics. Pole for a Purpose has raised over $28,000 for charitable organizations and hopes to continue with your help at this event.
  • While the New Tampa Players will be presenting “Annie” between Aug 3-12 at the University Area CDC, a special ASL interpretation by State of the Art Interpreting will be presented on Aug. 11 only at the 2 p.m. performance. 
  • Instead of spending your whole lunch break eating on Aug. 16, why not spend half of it for Thirty on Thursday at the Tampa Museum of Art. Beginning at 12:30 p.m., join a 30-minute conversation between artist Patricia Cronin and Seth Pevnick, Chief Curator and Richard E. Perry Curator of Greek and Roman Art, about Cronin’s work in the exhibition “Patricia Cronin: Aphrodite, and the Lure of Antiquity: Conversations with the Collection” that will be on view Aug. 16 through Jan. 6, 2019. But if talking isn’t your thing and you’re more into body language, make sure to check out TMA’s Silent Disco on Aug. 18, because sometimes action speaks louder than words.
  • Just as there’s an art to fashioning words together to create a gestalt of language, there’s also an art to reading in itself. On Aug. 19, join renowned “America’s writing coach” Roy Peter Clark in his session “How to Read Like a Writer” held at Oxford Exchange to discover a new side of the process of insightful reading.
  • There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of grabbing a few good books for a good deal. On Aug. 21, all the bibliophiles should head over to the August Book Sale Fundraiser at the USF Library hosted by the Student Organizations of Library & Information Science (SOLIS). From fiction, non-fiction, textbooks, vintage texts and more, they will have all sorts of great finds.
  • Exploring material dichotomies like soft versus hard, limp versus taut, or fluid versus solid, the work in Casey's show “The world is not what I think” at HCC’s Gallery 3 serves as a way to process the contradictions that surround us. On Aug. 23, an opening reception for this exhibition will be held along with a panel discussion at 6 p.m. with exhibiting artists who have creative work on display in Gallery 221’s exhibition “Making Sense”:  April Hartley, Catherine Joslyn, Carolyn Kossar, Gary Schmitt, and Matthew Wicks.
  • In conjunction with Miki Kratsman’s exhibition “People I Met” at USFCAM, join the artist on Aug. 30 in conversation with curator Christian Viveros-Faune at Oxford Exchange. For 30 years, Kratsman was a press photographer for “Hadashot” and “Haaretz” in Israeli-occupied territories, and his portraits seem to ask, “What happened to the people who were photographed?,” in a place of military violence. Tickets are $5, but this can also be applied to the purchase of a book. An additional artist talk will be held on Aug. 31 on USF campus held before the opening reception at USFCAM. 
  • If you’re in the mood for a story about love and loss, get your tickets for “Shadowlands” -- a drama about love and loss based on the true story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. Hosted by Florida College Fine Arts Department, there will be three showings between Aug. 31-Sept. 1.

The Portico cafe, event space in downtown Tampa marks first anniversary

The Portico neighborhood cafe and event space in downtown Tampa, a faith-based social entrepreneurship project designed to employ Tampa's homeless population, is celebrating one year in business with little staff turnover.

The Portico, run by Hyde Park Methodist Church, offers free parking off Florida Avenue just north of the Floridan Hotel.

Read the complete story.

National award for public leadership in the arts goes to Hillsborough County commissioners

When financial support for the arts feels threatened, it’s a prime time to recognize and shine a spotlight on local public officials fighting for arts funding.

That's what happened on July 15, when the Hillsborough Board of County Commissioners in Florida was awarded the Public Leadership in the Arts Award for County Arts Leadership at National Association of Counties’ (NACo) annual conference in Nashville, TN. These Public Leadership annual awards -- given by Americans for the Arts and NACo in different categories from the local to congressional level -- are presented to elected officials who champion the arts and arts education in their community and promote its value to our nation and the world at large.
One of the main reasons the Commissioners -- Victor Crist, Ken Hagan, Al Higginbotham, Pat Kemp, Lesley “Les” Miller, Jr., Sandra Murman, and Stacy White -- are being honored is because of their quick reaction in March to vote unanimously to launch a Cultural Assets Commission in defiant response to state officials slashing arts funding. This new commission was established to provide finances for new large-scale festivals and activities located within Hillsborough County that would be losing out on state support.
Yet, they have done much more than just this. Since 2006, the Commissioners have continually fought for the arts community by disseminating $234 million for local arts and culture. For the past decade, they have worked to increase funding and have added more than $1 million annually to the Arts Council of Hillsborough County to re-grant funds that go toward individual artists and cultural organizations, providing artists in county schools, and supporting the cultural network.
“This recognition of the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners for their support of arts and culture in our community is richly deserved. Their sustained commitment to funding arts and culture throughout the county is impressive,” says Martine Meredith Collier, Executive Director of the Arts Council of Hillsborough County. “Equally important, they have provided innovative leadership in developing programs to build stronger cultural assets, provide access for every citizen, and ensure cultural equity.”

Tampa Bay Rays reveal design for proposed new stadium in Ybor City, Tampa

The Tampa Bay Rays and global architecture firm Populous unveil the design for a proposed new urban stadium in Ybor City, a popular and historic neighborhood near downtown Tampa.

“I’m proud and incredibly excited to present our vision of a ballpark and one that is of, by and for the people of Tampa Bay,” said Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg. “I speak for the whole Rays organization and the 20 years we’ve had here today that we expect to be here for generations to come. We believe that baseball can not only survive but thrive in Tampa, in Tampa Bay and the Tampa Bay region.”

Read the complete story.

Art Snax: General Assembly exhibition in Tampa, and other art events on local menu

Collections: sometimes we can’t help what we come to accumulate over the years.
“Some people collect things, whether cars or coins, with some kind of framework. There’s a passion to collecting. My collecting doesn’t have a particular discipline. It’s all about having that gut reaction, so I’m innocent in that way, but I appreciate my senses. There is no such thing as completing the action of collecting because it is all very evolutionary. I’m rather flattered to be called a collector, really -- it was all very accidental, ” says George Anderton, artist and collector.
Anderton has accumulated quite a collection of art over the 20 years he has been living and working in Tampa. From July 14-August 18, these works will be shown publicly for the first time in “General Assembly: From the collection of Artist George Anderton” at Quaid Gallery in the South Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa. Organized by Kathy Gibson and Jose Gelats, the goal is to highlight the artists and local areas that have turned Tampa into a burgeoning arts scene.
“George’s place is one of the most unique homes I’ve ever been in. He has such a unique and interesting aesthetic and no matter what direction I look I am mesmerized by what he so casually, easily, naturally has stacked together. Nothing is as it seems but everything is -- at least to me -- fascinating,'' Gibson says. 

"There is something about what George does and is doing in his art and in his collecting that I’m strongly drawn to. I can’t put my finger on it, and I don’t want to,” Gibson continues. “This exhibition is different than a typical group show since the pieces have already been plucked by the same eye so there are subtle things in common, and Jose and I are having a ball trying to find various threads that seem to relate -- and then coming up with a way to exhibit them that may make sense to others.”
You may recognize many of the names because, as Anderton puts it: “It’s a big but small community.”

The show will include more than 75 pieces including (but not limited to) works by Neil Bender, Becky Flanders, Vincent Kral, Bud Lee, Tracy Midulla, Justin Nelson, Charles Parkhill, Edgar Sanchez Cumbas, Anthony Record, Josette Urso, Chasity Williams, Ruby C. Williams, and Theo Wujcik. 

A significant portion of these works was purchased either directly from the artists or through artist-run spaces like Tempus Projects, Quaid, and Workspace, but also bigger institutions like HCC’s Gallery 221 and the FMoPA (Florida Museum of Photographic Arts).
“I was approached by Kathy and Jose about doing something like this, so this project has been in the works for quite some time,” Anderton says. “I left everything to them, and just said ‘yes’ to everything. This will really be quite challenging. It’s their first time doing something like this, and I’m interested in seeing what the reaction will be.”
“With this show, we want to bring new people to Quaid. Jose is highlighting the places each of the pieces were purchased, venues around the Tampa area. It’s just as much about the work as it is about supporting community venues, or building a collection. It’s the whole food chain of being a part of the art community,” Gibson says.
One of Anderton’s own works, “Father Forgive,” is a 1999 acrylic on canvas piece that will be a part of the show to serve as a general theme for the whole project.
“Technically, it shouldn’t be in there because its one of my works, but it says something about me as a collector. It’s not like I’m a Rockefeller. This is just what one person has collected for the past 20 years in Tampa. It will be quite strange seeing the works in this setting having moved them from my house. I think it will be very interesting, to me personally,” Anderton says. “These pictures are added pleasure. I feel very lucky to have them.”
The opening reception for “General Assembly” will be held on Saturday, July 14 from 7-10 p.m.
Other upcoming art events:
  • Ever think about the collecting power of museums and wonder why the public isn’t allowed to see some of their most prized possessions? What gives? If you’re interested in gaining more insight about these issues, join Jocelyn Boigenzahn (Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, University of Tampa), Ashley Burke (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg), Sarah Howard (USFCAM), Katherine Pill (Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg), Amanda Poss (Gallery 221@Hillsborough Community College), and Joanna Robotham (Tampa Museum of Art) on July 12 for “Art Thursday: Tales from the Vault - Access vs. Preservation” at the USFCAM in a panel discussion about contemporary art collections.
  •  Ever dream about how awesome summer would be if you could play a little tune on a ukulele while you lounge on the beach watching the setting sun? Super utopic, right? Well, get a hold of your strings and come to Felicitous Coffee in north Tampa (their 51st St. location) on July 12 for a ukulele tutorial and get-together.
  •  If you’re interested in tapping into the Florida film scene and didn’t know where to start looking for your people, the Film Florida meet-up (hosted by Film Tampa Bay and Film Florida) will be held at Brew Bus Brewing in Tampa on July 12 from 6-9 p.m. Join members (even if you aren’t one) to learn about the art and industry while sipping on some brews. 
  •  “The Perfect Storm” (2000) will blow through the Tampa Theatre on July 13 (um, Friday the 13th? Could this be a terrible omen?) as part of their CinemaSTEM series, aiming to connect popular movies with experts in their respective STEM fields to bring a teachable moment to the theater. After the screening, Dave Osterberg -- FOX 13’s meteorologist -- will moderate a post-show discussion and Q&A session, while providing some helpful tips on preparing for hurricane season. The cost is $7 for members and $8/$10 for general admission.
  •  Libbi Ponce has been Lector Social Club’s artist-in-residence, transforming spaces into immersive installations. On July 13, you can hear the artist in conversation with art historian-curator Alyssa Cordero in “Installation as Adaption” at the Lector Social Club: Lit & Natty Wine in downtown Tampa. Specifically, she will be discussing her two newest installations “the apartment” and “Then We’re Out of Danger.” The talk will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a wine tasting preceding it at 5:30 p.m.
  • If you haven’t seen the latest exhibition at the Tampa Museum of Art yet, you may as well wait until July 15 for the Curator’s Lecture “Vapor and Vibration: The Art of Larry Bell and Jesús Rafael Soto” with Joanna Robotham at 2 p.m. Get to know Bell and Soto a little better and gain a deeper understanding of their significance to global art trends in the 1950s and '60s. This event is free for museum members and college students, and only $5 for non-members. Online registration is encouraged.
  • Looking for something more low key to do on Friday nights? On July 20 (and every Friday from 7-10 p.m.), come check out the open mic night at Windmill Natural Café at Chuck’s Natural Fields Market in Temple Terrace.
  • If you’ve ever even thought about playing around with origami, swing by The Paper Seahorse in Hyde Park Village on July 21 for their free origami meet-up. All of your supplies are provided, all you need to do is RSVP in advance.
  • “Landscape” and “urbanscape” provide two ways we see the land around us either with or without architecture. Instead of creating such a dichotomy, what kind of terrain is developed when we think about architecture’s relationship to nature, artificial landscapes, or borders? On July 27, head over to AIA Tampa Bay for the group show “Terrains” that explores this topic through 2D and 3D works.
  • Ready to step up your shoe game? If you’re looking to be one step ahead of everyone else, check out the custom sneaker exhibit in a collaboration of Burn Rubber X Reebok Classic X MergeCulture on July 21 at Burn Rubber in Ybor City. Twenty artists (with a mix of emerging and established graffiti writers and artists) will be putting their spin on a classic sneaker. So plain old sneaker? Yeah, right. You can check out their website for the full list of artists, who hail from across the country.

Cross Bay ferries may return to Tampa Bay in the fall

The Cross Bay Ferry linking downtown Tampa with downtown St. Pete is gaining momentum to restart in November at the beginning of tourist season.

A separate ferry service connecting MacDill Air Force Base in south Tampa with southeast HIllsborough County, where many military personnel live, is also in the works. 

Read the complete story.

Brightline proposes express rail connecting Tampa to West Palm Beach through Orlando

Seven years after rejecting federal taxpayer money (paid by Floridians) to build high-speed rail between Tampa and Orlando, Florida Gov. Rick Scott announces new interest by a private company in doing the same.

Brightline, a private firm already building a Miami to West Palm Beach high-speed rail system, is now seeking access to right-of-way along the I-4 corridor to extend the track to Tampa. 

Read the complete story.

Wow! Free rides on Tampa streetcars till 2021

A significant Florida Department of Transportation grant awarded to the Hillsborough Regional Transit Authority means free rides on Tampa streetcars for the next three years.

The free rides will enable people to get easily between downtown and Ybor City with greater frequency and by paying nothing at the fare box.

Read the complete story.

New grassroots effort calls for transportation solutions, Tampa Bay Area

A private group of business and community leaders in Tampa is pushing for a sales tax increase to support better transportation solutions.

The grassroots effort is endorsed by Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn and many others who recognize solutions will benefit all.

Read the complete story.

Cities reclaim waterfronts: From Tampa to Brooklyn to Cleveland to Boston, etc.

Cities across America are reclaiming waterfronts as tools for creating a sense of place that includes development of cool places and spaces where people want to live, work, play and stay.

Take Tampa, for example, as a city that increasingly ties its future to its waterfront. Witness the Tampa Riverwalk, Water Street Tampa and the Channel District leading the way. New housing, shops, restaurants, art venues, and green spaces complete with bike paths, dog parks and walking trails, are here to stay.

Read the complete story.

Tampa's waterfront developments continue to attract global attention

"Today, Tampa’s waterfront is a magnet for investment: The city’s downtown has become the locus of a wave of construction projects that will bring an estimated $13 billion on investment to the Tampa region through 2022, according to Dodge Data & Analytics,'' reports CURBED, an online magazine about growth in cities.

The multibillion-dollar projects are attracting millennials, empty nesters and young professionals who want the urban lifestyle and access to water for transportation and recreation.

Read the complete story.


Art Snax: Woodturn a mead goblet, and other art events on local menu

Father’s Day is coming up and if your Dad is anything like mine, he’s extremely hard to buy for. But what is one of his life passions? You betcha, it’s beer. Instead of getting him a lame tie this year, why not woodturn your own beer/mead/beverage-of-choice goblet (fit for a BBQ king) with him on June 24 at the Florida School of Woodwork with Rudy Lopez?

“They are just fun things to do, so that’s why we’ve been calling them our Sunday Fundays, which get people introduced to the fun hobby of turning on a lathe. There a lot of things you can do, like plates and cups, and of course, beer goblets. It’s an easy hobby to get into because it doesn’t take up a whole lot of space or use a lot of tools. This is something you could do on your balcony or a little corner in your garage, so we wanted to give people the opportunity to do it in a really fun way,” says Kate Swann, executive director of the Florida School of Woodwork.

To make a goblet, what’s called a “blank” is put on the lathe. You start out making the cup part of it, using gouges to hollow out the middle of it before working on the outside of it. The goblets are about 4-5 inches by the end of the class, and they all come out uniquely yours. While they aren’t dishwasher safe, there are a few ways to seal the inside of them from torching the surface to adding a sealer.

Probably one of the best parts is you get to test it out next door at Garagiste Meadery right after. It’s clearly a win-win situation, but if alcoholic beverages aren’t your thing, there are plenty of other upcoming beginner classes to check out too.

“One of the things I’m doing now is working on the calendar for the rest of the year, so we will be including more Sunday Funday things like a beer mug or carving a spoon. These will be really fun classes were people can just come and play,” Swann says.

“Generally speaking, the demographics of the school are 40 percent female, 60 percent male. The age is between 23-65 for women, and older for the men -- 28-70 years old. We have all different professions: brain surgeons, teachers, and firemen. The bottom line is, people realize are longing to have something to do with their head and hands together. My belief is that evolution has given us a 3-pound brain, opposable thumbs, and heart -- and those things love moving together. This is why making anything is a really fun thing to do, and is so satisfying. With these classes, there isn’t a big barrier to woodworking.”

Other upcoming art events:

• Flaccid-barreled rifles and tasseled, bulbous American flags. … Who knew soft, plush sculptures could become weapons for political and social criticism? Open through June 16, “Power Play” at Cunsthaus features the soft sculptures of Natalie Baxter, a Brooklyn-based artist.

• Get ready for some summer jam sessions: on June 7, the Rock the Park free concert series at Curtis Hixon Park starts at 6:30 p.m. with bands including The Porch Sessions, Nathanael Hyer & The Rail Car Choir, and Danielle Mohr.

• With the Dali Museum over in St. Pete, we tend to like our art a little weird in this town. Relish in the beautiful, surreal, but a bit bizarre films of Suzan Pitt on June 8 with the screening of three of her animated shorts -- “Asparagus,” “Joy Street,” and “El Doctor” -- hosted by Cinematheque Ybor at The Bunker from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.

• Didn’t get enough of your inner weirdo out at during the screenings of Suzan Pitt (see event above) at The Bunker? You’re in luck because on June 13, the Second Screen Cult Cinema will be showing “Fantastic Planet” (1973) from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Never heard of it? Here’s a little sampling

• When you think about art collections of major institutions, it can be a little sad to think about all the beautiful artworks that are nestled away safely, but out of view of the public. In a huge effort to address that, USF CAM’s new exhibition “Restricted – Hidden Gems from the USF Collection” will be bringing artwork -- from the likes of Claes Oldenburg, John Cage, Lynda Benglis, Mernet Larsen, and many more -- out of the darkness. I know I have some burning questions to ask (like, who makes decisions on what pieces to collect? Is there a theme to their collection?), which is why the best time to visit the CAM will be on June 14th during their curator tour from 6-8 p.m.

• If you’re a musician looking to network and learn more about the music business from other professionals, then the Tampa Music Conference on June 16 might be worth putting on your iCalendar. Not only will there be panel discussions, there will also be performances in the evening but registration is required.

• I know, school’s finally out so why would you want to go to another class? Nixing the ole’ grading system, this one will keep your attention more than Chem. 101: On June 16, learn the art of Shibori Japanese Indigo fabric dying at The Paper Seahorse. Registration required beforehand.

• Summer is the time where you have all this free time to do the things you want to do, then you find yourself bored once you have it. Why not check out Mergeculture’s linoleum block printing workshop on June 21 and also on June 24? Hack away at a block for a few hours, then leave with a printmaking masterpiece.

• Creatives Exchange is a collective of local women artists -- ranging from photographers, painters, ceramicists, filmmakers, and sculptors -- who will be exhibiting at HCC Ybor City Campus Art Gallery on June 28. Featuring the works of Paula Brett, Jenny Carey, Suzanne Camp Crosby, Kimberli Cummings, Melissa Fair, Eileen Goldenberg, Brenda Gregory, Cynthia Hennessy, Victoria Jorgensen, Candace Knapp, Kim Radatz, Debra Radke, Rose Rosen, and Suzanne Williamson, “Seeing Now” is an exhibition gathering insight on a contemporary woman’s perspective. The show will be up through July 31.

• With the 4th of July coming up, freshen up your history of America with “Pop Goes America: An American History Musical Revue!” by the Carrollwood Players Theatre. In a silly take on the pilgrims to the Civil War, this is a play the whole family can enjoy. Performances will be going on from June 29 to July 1.

New community-based grant program led by Arts Council of Hillsborough County

Many project-based grants given to arts organizations tend to be in centralized community hubs radiating from the downtown area, but what about the folks living on the outer edges of the county that might not have access to these programs?

Starting with the current Cultural Development Grants as a guideline, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County’s (ACHC) has pulled together a smaller sister program called the Community Arts Impact Grants (CAIG), which aim to bring the arts to underserved communities across Hillsborough County.

“Last year with our Cultural Development Grants program that has larger awards, we had a couple of organizations that were very small and applying for the first time without much experience,'' says Terri Simons, Director of Programs and Communications of the ACHC. "It became clear that there was a need for something that would help small organizations in the outer reaches of the county that had very worthy projects, and where it was easier to apply. We wanted something that would help incubate these programs so they could learn how to apply for grants while also noting that they have a different population to serve.”

Though this new CAIG grant is smaller, it’s still significant: Applicants can ask for up to $5,000 to support a specific arts- or culture-centered project, which could be anything from classes to murals or many other options.

The main prerequisite is that it brings these kinds of programs to areas of the county that don’t have immediate access to it (whether it be boundaries of geography, ethnicity, age, or disabilities) to bring inclusivity to the arts. Applications are due by Friday, July 13, at 4 p.m.

“The program could also serve veterans or people with special needs. Many parts of the county don’t have a formal cultural center building like Carrollwood, or the one in New Tampa they are currently working on. We’re hoping that organizations in underserved areas will be asking for grants. Applicants don’t necessarily have to be an arts or cultural nonprofit, but they could be. It could also be a neighborhood association partnering with an arts nonprofit,” Simons says.

The ACHC anticipates at least 24 of these grants to be dispersed, and they are hoping to soon have all parts of the grant process online.

Because smaller organizations are volunteer-run and might not have experience, an application workshop for both this CAIG Grant as well as the Cultural Development Grant will be held on Monday, May 21, from 10 a.m.-noon at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County. Registration online at this link is required.

“This CAIG grant is pretty short and the application workshop will help applicants through that, as well as gathering more information about it. The workshop will cover both grants for cultural grants, but applicants cannot apply to both. There are different requirements for each program and this workshop will help organizations determine which one to apply to,” Simons says.

Nonprofit Grants Workshops are planned in two locations: May 21 at 10 a.m. in Ybor City; and May 30 at 10 am in Riverview. Registration is requested -- at TampaArts.org.

USF hosts New Grounds dance festival in Tampa

It started out as a modest but distinctive annual concert that gave young choreographers a chance to set their work on a professional stage. That was 17 years ago.

Now Moving Current’s New Grounds has evolved into a festival, with master classes and other ancillary events.

The centerpiece of the festival is still that performance of works by emerging choreographers. This year’s concert is scheduled for two performances this weekend.

Besides offering choreographers from around Florida the opportunity to stage their works, the New Grounds performances give local dance aficionados a chance to experience a wider breadth and variety of work.

“We put out a call for tapes,” says Cindy Hennessy, the Artistic Director of Moving Current, Tampa’s preeminent professional dance company. “Then we have a panel of dance professionals select the best six or eight or nine, depending on length.”

New Grounds has become increasingly prestigious and competitive over the years, so audiences can count on high-quality dance.

Besides the concert, the New Grounds Festival also includes a free event called “Show + Tell” that’s a little like an open-mic night for choreographers. Anyone who has created a dance work, or has a work in progress, can sign up to perform it and get feedback from other dancers, choreographers and fans of the art form.

The New Grounds Festival Performance is set for 8 p.m. Friday, May 12, and 2 p.m. the following day, Saturday, May 13, in Theatre 2 on the University of South Florida Tampa campus. Tickets for students and seniors are $15; all others are $20. You can get them at the door.

“Show + Tell”  event was Wednesday, May 10, at the USF Dance Department.

Call 813-237-0216 or go to the Moving Current website for more details.

Art Snax: OPUS art exhibition, and other art events on local menu for May

Let's have a round of applause for venues that not only don’t charge artists to submit entry fees, but they also don’t take a percentage of an artist’s sold works. The Tampa Covenant Church is doing just that with their 3rd year running their Opus art exhibition held on May 18 at 7 p.m., featuring local artists during a one-night pop-up show.
“This is our third year and it’s growing steadily each year. We came up with the idea for OPUS since the Tampa Covenant Church has always had a huge influx of artists, so it’s always been a part of the culture of this church. The building itself was created by Alfonso Architects to be a work of art itself with lots of space so we thought it would be a great idea to open it up to show artists. We want to support local artists with artists keeping all of the money from the sales of their work,” says Rich Van Voorst, Creative Director of OPUS.
With rows of gridwall for exhibiting works, different artists apply each year. There are even first, second, and third place prizes with generous support from Dick Blick Art Materials. Open to the public, guests will be treated to hors d’oeuvres and drinks. In the past, roughly 300-400 people have meandered through the exhibition to check out the art.
“We are happy to do this for the artists. You can actually talk to the artists so you can hear more about their work. Part of the work we see ourselves doing is bringing art back to the city,” Van Voorst says.“We want people to read and engage in art slowly, which isn’t as prominent here than it is in European and Asian cultures. “
Other art events in May:
Interested in public art and wanting to learn more about public art trends, how to engage audiences, and where the future of public art is headed? On May 2-4, join other public art enthusiasts during the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals Conference for lectures, discussions, and even a tour of the newest commissioned works at the Tampa International Airport. To attend the conference, you must register up online (prices vary), but there is a pre-conference session that is free and open to all. 

Ah, Spring. The time of the year where it feels like summer, but you only know because of the plethora of festivals sprouting up around town; and the Tampa International Fringe Festival is one of those blooms you want to seek out. As a ten-day performing arts festival that is spread out across venues throughout Ybor City, you’ll be treated with shows from comedy, rock musicals, magic shows, and much more. The festival runs May 3-12 and tickets can be purchased online.

There will be music (and tantalizing smells) in the air on May 4-5 during Tampa Riverfest at Curtis Hixon Park and other venues along the Riverwalk. Come for the bands, but stick around for the Weiner Dog Derby.

Cinco de Mayo might be Cinco de Spend-o for some. On May 5, Graphicstudio will be hosting its Benefit Sale and Open house from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., with the funds going toward Graphicstudio’s research and education programs. Some of their newest releases include Alex Katz, Duke Riley, Abel Barroso, Esterio Segura, Aya Tarek, Kalup Linzy, and Diana Al-Hadid.

GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS is a new show (no, not that kind of show) coming to The Bricks Ybor on May 12.  In a 3-woman exhibition showcasing the works of Ashley Cantero, SooJin Brown, and Cheryl Cabbat Weber, the doors will be open from 8 p.m. – 3 a.m.

From May 16-20, listen to some varied tunes at the Orange Blossom Jamboree Music and Art Festival at Sertoma Ranch in Brooksville. This festival features over 50 bands, many which hail across Florida cities. Stay overnight and see if you can score the honor of “Coolest Campsite” in their contest.

On May 17, Jefferson High School students will debut their work at USF CAM in their “A Wave of Change” exhibition. The Contemporary Art Museum reception will be from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m., and will be on view through May 18. 

Don’t get FOMO: from May 18-20, the Carrollwood Players will be hosting their One Act Weekend with eight short never-before-seen plays. Tickets can be purchased online.

In a three-person show featuring the works of Melvin Halsey Jr., Indie Reece, and Christopher Clark, the exhibition Ancient Roots will be opening at MergeCulture (previously Illsol) in North Tampa on May 19. Though each artist works in a different medium ranging from paintings to digital to multi-media, there are connections to African and Caribbean culture that ties their work together.

Works on paper never seem to get the same credit as paintings, but starting on May 26, printmaking will get its due recognition.  On view through August 19, “From Muse and Myth to Figure and Gesture: 50 Years of Prints from the Permanent Collection” at the Tampa Museum of Art will restore power to the paper with selections from artists like Lisa Yuskavage, Jim Dine, Alex Katz, Max Neumann, Keith Haring, and Niki de St. Phalle.
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