April arts roundup in Tampa Bay

“Someday You’ll Have To Say It Out Loud” at USF Contemporary Art Museum

The University of South Florida Contemporary Art Museum presents the 2023 Master of Fine Arts Graduation Exhibition, “Someday You’ll Have to Say it Out Loud,” from April 1st through May 6th.

Now in its 17th year, the exhibition showcases the work of artists from an MFA program that is nationally recognized for excellence by its peers. The exhibition is a cooperative venture between the Contemporary Art Museum and the School of Art and Art History and has featured artwork from more than 100 MFA students over the years. Those students begin planning their contributions to the exhibition a year prior to the opening. This year’s exhibition, “Someday You’ll Have To Say It Out Loud,” features artists Kai Holyoke, Molly Duff, Caitlin Nobilé, Manon VanScoder, Rachel Treide, Alicia Watkinson, Trinity Oribio and Willow Wells.

The USF Contemporary Art Museum has three events related to the exhibition in April. The opening reception is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on April 1st. On April 13th, ART Thursday: Saying It Out Loud, a  reading of original poetry inspired by the exhibition by USF graduate students in the “Craft of Poetry” course, runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On April 27th, the ART Thursday: “Someday You’ll Have To Say It Out Loud” gallery tour and panel discussion runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The event includes a gallery tour, followed by a panel conversation with the MFA artists and a question and answer session.

For more information, go to Someday You’ll Have To Say It Out Loud or email [email protected].

Gasparilla Music Festival

The 12th Gasparilla Music Festival returns to downtown Tampa April 29th and 30th at Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park. 

 "We are looking forward to celebrating our 12th year in Tampa's heart and soul for live music since 1967,” says Gasparilla Music Foundation Executive Director David Cox. “Expect a fun and eclectic lineup alongside amazing food from some of Tampa's best chefs!"

The initial lineup release has hip-hop duo Run the Jewels, Grateful Dead cover band Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, electro-funk duo Chromeo and indie rock band Local Natives as headliners. 

Proceeds from the festival benefit youth music education.

For more information, go to Gasparilla Music Festival.

HCC Theater Department and LAB Theater Project present “Zombie Beach: The Musical.”

The Hillsborough Community College Theater Department and LAB Theater Project present “Zombie Beach: The Musical” from March 30th to April 1st and April 6th to April 8th at the Mainstage Theater at the HCC Ybor City campus.

The musical comedy is set in a Southern California beach town in the 1960s and mixes beach movies and rock n’ roll with zombies. The collaboration between HCC and the LAB Theater Project has a professional production team and actors working alongside HCC theater students, who get valuable experience on a professional production.

“Zombie Beach: The Musical” is written by John Cecil, a New York-based who grew up in Tampa Bay, with music and lyrics by Cecil and Laura Rebel-Angel of the Brooklyn-based roots band Screaming Rebel Angels. HCC Theater Department head Suzy Devore is the director. Miles Randolph returns to LAB Theater as the show’s music director, the same role he had on its production of “It Started with a Kiss.”

For more information and tickets, go to HCC Theater or LAB Theater Project.

Florida CraftArt Members’ Show

The Florida CraftArt’s Members’ Show is on display through April 29th.

The juried exhibition showcases the work of 56 CraftArt members hailing from Florida to North Carolina and 98 pieces, including contemporary glass, jewelry, fiber, wood, ceramics, metals and mixed media. This year, Palm Harbor artist Joyce Curvin won “Best in Show,” for Grandpa’s Garden, ” a repurposed grandfather clock embellished with mixed media.

Also this month at the Florida CraftArt Gallery, 501 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, master artist Jennifer Rosseter will demonstrate her ceramic sgraffito techniques from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. April 8th, during the Second Saturday ArtWalk. At 5:30 p.m. on April 19th, artists from the members’ exhibition will talk about their work, philosophy  and processes. All the events are free and open to the public.

For more information, go to Florida CraftArt.

American Stage in the Park presents "Ragtime - the Musical" 

American Stage's annual musical at Demen's Landing Park invites everyone to enjoy "Ragtime - the Musical ' while hanging out in the spring air. 

Set in the melting pot of turn-of-the-century New York, three distinctly American tales are woven together – that of a stifled upper-class wife, a determined Jewish immigrant, and a daring young Harlem musician – united by their courage, compassion and belief in the promise of the future and the power of the human spirit to overcome.

“Ragtime - the Musical” runs Wednesday through Saturday from April 12th to May 14th. The park opens at 5:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. Drinks, food and spirits are available before and during the show. Tickets are $45.

For more information, go to American Stage.

“Good Day Sunshine State - How the Beatles Rocked Florida” author Bob Kealing at St. Petersburg Museum of History Happy Hour with the Historian

Emmy award-winning journalist Bob Kealing appears at the St. Petersburg Museum of History’s Happy Hour with the Historian on April 13th to discuss his new book “Good Day Sunshine State - How the Beatles Rocked Florida.” Kealing will share the story of the Beatles' influence on Florida music and culture. 

For more information, go to St. Petersburg Museum of History.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts 2023 International Photography Competition

The Florida Museum of Photographic Arts is accepting entries for the 2023 International Photography Competition through April 16th. Twenty-four winners will have their work on display in a summer exhibition at Tampa International Airport. There is a $1,000 prize for Best in Show and additional prizes from FMoPA sponsors

For more information and to submit work, go to FMoPA 2023.

“Originals” at The Bricks

Art has been part of The Bricks since the Ybor City venue’s beginning.

“Originals,” an art show that is a throwback to the origins of art life at The Bricks and some of the original artists that solidified it as an arts-centric venue in the heart of Ybor City, opens Saturday, April 1st at 8 p.m. 

Artist Daniel Mrgan's work is part of the exhibition "Originals" at The Bricks in Ybor City.This group art show includes new works from five artists who were mainstays in the early art events at The Bricks. Chad Cardoza of “Kick Start My Art,” is a mixed-media artist creating multi-layered sculptural pieces with recycled skateboards. Cindy P$ynner is a painter, sculptor and mixed-media artist known for her bold colors and patterning. Graphic designer and illustrator Daniel Mrgan works with a blend of wood burning and colored pencil. Mixed-media artist Kryteena Runas creates whimsical works using photography and paint. RJ Runas is a painter and sculptor extraordinaire.

“Originals” opens at 8 p.m. on April 1st with Jay Marley will providing music as the event DJ. The Bricks is located at 1327 E 7th Ave. in Tampa.

For more information, go to The Bricks Ybor.

“State of the Digital Arts (SODA)” Pinellas County Schools student exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art

“State of the Digital Arts (SODA),” an exhibition of artwork from Pinellas County elementary and middle school students, is on display in the Interactive Gallery of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art at St. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs campus from April 1st to 30th. Pinellas County elementary and middle school student artwork like "Butterflies in Flight" will be on display in the "State of the Digital Arts (SODA)" exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

SODA is the first student exhibition at Leepa-Rattner since 2020. The event showcases 100 works created in digital media and video by Pinellas County elementary and middle school students. The SODA awards ceremony is 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on April 5th.

Second Saturday ArtWalk at The Factory, St. Pete 

The St. Petersburg Art Alliance’s monthly Second Saturday ArtWalk is Saturday, April 8th.

At The Factory, St Pete, April's gallery theme for the ArtWalk is Fauvism. Fauvism is the name applied to work characterized by strong colors and fierce brushwork and produced from around 1905 to 1910 by a group of artists that includes Henri Matisse and André Derain.

Studio creations of homegrown artists such as Lucky Leroy, Raheem Fitzgerald, Tommy Bayot, Jason Harvin, Bula Barua, Blaquejack Studios, Maddie Gotshall, The Tampa Bay Sewcial Club, Patricia Tierney-Moses, Nancy Koch Photography, Gios Typos, Jose M, Wove Print Co., Made by Brielle, Custom Candle Artworks, John C. Monteiro, Jason Hackenwerth and more will be featured.

The busy Saturday at The Factory includes Suncoast Storytellers in the Library from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Library Hall doors open with live jazz, snacks and coffee at 4:30 p.m.  St. Pete Lit’s SPEAK poetry series and open mic is in the same space from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Stop by buildings 7 & 8 to enjoy hidden galleries and immersive art spaces: HEIRESS "Botting" exhibit, the Bula Barua Gallery featuring Wyllowe Espinosa opening exhibition, Tampa Bay Sewcial Club, "WAYWORLD" and Jason Hackenwerth.

DaddyKool Records, Somewhere Store and Fairgrounds will also be open. You can wander through The Factory to support talented local artists, and check out newly revealed gallery exhibits, spaces, murals and expansions of artist studios.

The Second Saturday ArtWalk Trolley will run to 40 different venues from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. 

For more information, go to Second Saturday ArtWalk.

Antiquities Circle Lecture: “The Black & White of Identity in the Ancient World” at Tampa Museum of Art

Antiquities have been a centerpiece for the Tampa Museum of Art for decades. 

On April 16th, Jackie Murray, an associate professor of Classics and African American and Africana Studies in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures at the University of Kentucky, presents an Antiquities Circle Lecture related to the museum’s exhibition “Identity in the Ancient World.” 
Murray has published several important articles on various aspects of Hellenistic and Latin Poetry and Race and the Classics, most recently “Race and Sexuality: Racecraft in the Odyssey” in the first volume of the Bloomsbury Cultural History of Race series edited by Denise McCoskey. She is currently finishing her long-awaited monograph on Apollonius’ Argonautica and is working on several collaborative projects related to race and racism in Antiquity and Classics.

The lecture is 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on April 16th. Lectures are free with regular admission.  

For more information, go to Tampa Museum of Art.

“Base Removed” by Libbi Ponce at Tempus Projects, Ybor City

“Base Removed,” an exhibition of new work from artist Libbi Ponce, is in the main gallery at Tempus Projects in Ybor City from April 20th to May 18th. 

Base Removed collects a series of sculptures produced over two years by Ponce, who was born in Tampa to Ecuadorian parents. Since 2021, Ponce, recipient of a Fulbright scholarship, scanned a series of pieces from the archaeological collection of the University of South Florida. Around the same year, online art forums were filled with reflections on the situation surrounding monuments in major cities around the world. Pieces of sculpture vitally important to national narratives had been toppled, incinerated and sunk, while the art world tried desperately to give a united response to the facts.

The same reckoning occurred close to home as space held by monuments to power structures was being confronted. These events brought with them a reinterpretation of empty space, the place occupied by the memory of what was once a public sculpture that was difficult to inhabit, digest and ignore. 

For more information, go to Tempus Projects.

"Imagined East: Decorative Arts and the Imperial Gaze" at Henry B. Plant Museum 

“Imagined East: Decorative Arts and the Imperial Gaze” is on exhibit at the Henry B. Plant Museum at the University of Tampa through August 20th.

“‘Imagined East: Decorative Arts and the Imperial Gaze’ explores the roots of Orientalism, its appeal and significance as a decorative style, and the cultural impact of this movement,” a description on the museum website says. “The exhibit features original artifacts from the Tampa Bay Hotel as well as loans from public institutions and private collectors. Objects on display include sculptures, pottery, paintings, prints, furniture and more.”
“Orientalist art and décor swept through the Western world in the late 19th century.  Beautiful objects from, or inspired by, North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia were brought together in the homes of wealthy collectors to signify that one was both well-traveled and well-educated,” the description continues. “The influence of this movement can be seen throughout the Tampa Bay Hotel.  Visitors to this exhibit will learn how international trade created this movement and how Orientalism shaped the way that cultures viewed themselves and each other. Visitors to the Henry Plant Museum marvel at the building’s Moorish-inspired architecture and the fantastic collection of orientalist décor housed inside. Now visitors have an opportunity to learn more about the decor and design influences of the hotel.”

For more information, go to Imagined East.

Sunday in the ARTS fundraiser

“Sunday in the ARTS,” the annual fundraiser for nonprofit arts group Las Damas de Arte, is Sunday, April 23rd at The Michael Murphy Gallery, 2701 S. MacDill Ave., in Tampa. 

The exhibition features two-dimensional visual art and wearable art by female artists. Proceeds from Sunday in the ARTS  funds grants and scholarship programs at Hillsborough County art programs, colleges and universities. The evening includes wine, food, music and a silent auction.

For more information, go to Sunday in the Arts.

Creative Clay “Spring for the Arts” fundraiser

Nonprofit arts organization Creative Clay’s major fundraiser, “Spring for the Arts,” is 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, April 21st at NOVA 535 in St. Petersburg. The evening includes music, an art exhibit, theater performances, live painting, food and drink.

Proceeds go toward Creative Clay’s mission to help people with disabilities achieve full and inclusive lives by providing expressive, educational and vocational experiences in the arts.

For more information, go to Spring for the Arts.

LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library accepting submissions for ArtOUT

The LGBTQ Resource Center of the Gulfport Library is currently taking artist submissions for ArtOUT, an international juried art show that will be held June 1st to 30th at The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art, the Gulfport Public Library and online. 

Last year, the show’s theme was “Queering the Pandemic” in recognition of the different ways COVID impacted artists. This year’s theme, “EMERGENCE,” focuses on emerging from the pandemic.

“This is our sixth year for ArtOUT but only the second international, juried show,” Susan Gore, the board president of the LGBTQ Resource Center, says in a press release. “Expanding Resource Center programs online was an unexpected gift of the COVID pandemic. Last year, ArtOUT attracted more than 70 works and jurors
accepted 54 works by 35 artists from 8 countries.”

For more information, go to ArtOUT.

National Poetry Month readings at Eckerd College

To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Eckerd College Creative Arts Collegium is bringing in three award-winning poets for readings on campus and at the Salvador Dalí Museum on April 6th, April 12th and April 20th.

At 7 p.m. on April 6th, Irish poet and theologian Pádraig Ó Tuama, whose work centers on themes of language, power, conflict and religion, will share selections of his work at Eckerd College's James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences.

In conjunction with the Dalí Museum’s monthly "Poetry at the Dalí," series, Victoria Chang will read from her upcoming book of poems, "With My Back to the World," in the Dalí Museum Will Raymund Theater at 6:30 p.m. on April 12th. Chang is a Guggenheim Fellow whose poetry collection "OBIT"  was named a New York Times Notable Book and a TIME Must-Read Book and received the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in Poetry and the PEN/Voelcker Award.

At 7 p.m. on April 20th, Iranian-born poet and educator Rooja Mohassessy will have a reading at Eckerd College's Helmar and Enole Nielsen Center for Visual Arts. Mohassessya is a MacDowell Fellow and the author of "When Your Sky Runs Into Mine," which won the 22nd annual Elixir Poetry Prize.   

For more information, go to Eckerd College events.

“Interspecies Journey” by The Equus Projects at HCC Dance Studio 

“Interspecies Journey,” a dance/theater piece that merges live dance with excerpts from the film, “IMPRINTED,” is at the HCC Dance Studio on March 31st and April 1st. 

“The live events and film are woven into a fluid tapestry that will draw you into the profound world of physical listening and interspecies communication,” an event description on the HCC website says. “Viewers are drawn into a visceral experience of physical listening that lies at the foundation of human-equine dialogue.”

The performance presents a unique experience showcasing what dancers bring to the equine arena. No one in the horse world has ever attempted to interact with foals by improvising with the animal instead of training the animal. 

“Interspecies Journey” is March 31st at 7:30 p.m. at HCC Dance Studio in Ybor City. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased in advance at HCC Dance. Performances are free to HCC students, faculty and staff with I.D. Limited seating.

In connection with the performance,  there will be workshops hosted by the HCC Dance Program on March 31st from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the HCC Dance Studio and on April 1st from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. with horses at liberty in pasture at Notquitea Farm in Dade City. All are welcome, including dancers, equestrians, curious movers and artists. 

For more information, contact [email protected] or go to HCC Dance.

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Read more articles by Michele Smith.

Michele Smith is a writer based in Tampa since the ’90s. She has a degree in International Business & Fine Art from the University of Tampa and has contributed to numerous start-up ventures in the Tampa Bay area. Her writing is influenced by a local and global perspective. Topics of interest include arts leadership, business development, creativity and innovation and wellness. Michele is also the Executive Director of the nonprofit Tampa Arts Alliance.