December arts in Tampa Bay: Broadway shows, holiday art markets, live orchestras, new exhibits

Dive into creative events this December as art takes center stage in Tampa Bay. From immersive exhibitions highlighting local artists to live music that will keep you on the edge of your seats, enjoy a myriad of festivals, concerts and exhibits for an artsy holiday season.

Tampa Bay Arts Pop-Up

The Tampa Arts Alliance and Visit Tampa Bay are putting on a pop-up art event on Monday, December 11th that will include live mural painting, a performance by the Tampa City Ballet, a pop-up gift market and the unveiling of a new calendar featuring the mural art of Tampa. 

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Unlock Tamp Bay Visitors Center on the first floor of the PNC Building, 201 N Franklin St. The pop-up market begins at 10:30 a.m. and will feature Parachute Gallery, Jay Jiroux, Dylan Perry, Erika Williner Designs and more artists. The Tampa City Ballet will perform excerpts from “The Nutcracker.”  Throughout the event, there will be live mural painting by Artysta Lulu and 12 local artists from The Tampa Walls! Downtown Takeover! 

Tempus Projects Holiday Party 

Tempus Projects Holiday Party is  6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 14th. The event includes a live musical performance by Justin Depth at 8 p.m. and the closing receptions for Jenn Ryann Miller’s exhibition “Hobby House” and Justin Myers’s exhibition “What Did We Use to Say?” There will also be art for sale at special holiday discounts.

Tempus Projects is located on the second floor of the historic Ybor Kress Building, 1624 E. Seventh Ave.  

There's Good in Ybor 

“There’s Good in Ybor,” a fundraiser and community rally featuring live music and art performances is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, December 11th at Crowbar, 1812 N. 17th St.

The show will feature performances by Shevonne, Perception, Tha Banned, SydLive, Wally B, Psych Montano, Kay Three and more. There will also be live painting by artists PainKiller Cam, Selena and Jay Coachman. 

The event is a fundraiser for the Andrew Joseph Foundation,  which supports grieving parents of lost children and works to implement programs focused on disrupting community violence. 
For more information and tickets, go to There’s Good in Ybor.

Art on the House

Every Thursday, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Experience the Tampa Museum of Art every Thursday with Art on the House, an invitation to explore art at a price that works best for you. Head to the welcome desk to set your own admission price, with every contribution making a difference in supporting art history. Stroll through a century of Tampa’s artistry through exhibitions that showcase ancient, modern and contemporary art from around the world. From realist paintings and impressionism works to Haitian art and cultural ceramics, there are countless art exhibitions and artworks to explore at the Tampa Museum of Art.

December ArtWalk: The Good Folk Show

Saturday, December 9, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Discover the heart and soul of folk art at Creative Clay’s The Good Folk Show, a December showcase featuring original artworks from its talented member artists. Immerse yourself in the expansive exhibits during the ArtWalk with live music by the talented Deb Ruby. You can also join in on the magic from the comfort of your own space by exploring Creative Clay’s virtual gallery. Artists receive a 50% commission from every sale.

Creative Clay's "The Good Folk Show" takes place during December's Second Saturday ArtWalk in St. Petersburg.“Our December exhibit, The Good Folk Show, features work from Creative Clay’s vast collection of original folk art and highlights the diversity, vibrancy and energy of art created in our studios,” says  Creative Clay Director of Exhibitions Jody Bikoff. “Our artists work in many mediums including painting, drawing, ceramics, mixed medium and fiber arts. This ArtWalk welcomes our visitors to shop for the holidays, tour our studios and visit our Creative Thrift store for artists’ supplies and treasures! The exhibit runs through the end of January.”

Art Play Date

Saturday, December 9, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Gather your young artists for a memorable art-making experience at the Tampa Museum of Art’s Art Play Date sessions. Designed for children ages 4 and up, Art Play Dates are designed for children and caregivers to craft cherished memories and unique artworks. Children can create collaborative projects in a fun, interactive environment using art-making materials like mixed media, paint and both 2D and 3D art forms. Each registration includes participation for one caregiver artist and one child artist, along with all necessary art materials. Create handmade art masterpieces that will forever hold a special place in your hearts and in your home.

Annual Florida Highwaymen Art Show

Saturday, December 9, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Paint the Town Citrus presents its annual Florida Highwaymen Art Show on Saturday, December 9th at a new location in Tampa, 14350 N Dale Mabry Hwy, Unit A.Paint the Town Citrus' annual Florida Highwaymen art show is December 9th.

The show will feature the art of original Florida Highwaymen RL Lewis and Al Black and second-generation Florida Highwayman Kelvin Hair. There will be original works or art, giclees, prints, and books. There will also be free drawings with the winners getting free attendance to an upcoming Al Black or Kelvin Hair art class.

For more information, go to Florida Highwaymen Art Show.

“Path of the Panther” at FMoPA 

“Carlton Ward Jr: Path of the Panther” is on exhibit at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) main gallery in Ybor City from December 7 through March 17, 2024. The opening reception is December 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The exhibit showcases photographs by Ward Jr., a National Geographic Explorer and renowned wildlife photographer, that celebrate wild Florida through the story of our state animal – the Florida panther. 

“The panther was driven to extinction throughout its range in the eastern United States except for a small remnant population that persisted in Florida’s Everglades,” an exhibit description from FMoPA explains. “Numbers had dwindled to fewer than 20 individuals by the 1980s, but heroic conservation efforts have helped panthers come back to nearly 200 today. The biggest obstacle for the panther’s continued recovery is access to enough of its historic territory throughout Florida and adjoining states.”
The photographs in the exhibit are featured in the new National Geographic film and book “Path of the Panther” and provide an unprecedented portrait of the panther amidst Florida’s wildest landscapes - from the remote cypress swamps of the Fakahatchee Strand to the headwaters of the Everglades. 

The FMoPA is on the first floor of the historic Kress Building, 1630 E. Seventh Ave.

"Cass Street Rail Bridge," by Lance Rabb, winner of the People's Choice Award at the 2022 Florida Museum of Photographic Arts Members Show. The 2023 Members Show is on exhibit from December 12th to January 14th.Also at FMoPA, the annual Members Show is on exhibit in the community gallery from December 12th until January 14, 2024. The exhibition showcases paintings in five categories: portrait, nature, abstract, documentary and AI-enhanced.

For more information, go to FMoPA exhibits.

A Very Broadway Christmas

Friday, December 15, 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Prepare to be enchanted with Broadway on the Bay’s magical event, A Very Broadway Christmas at the Mahaffey Theater. Immerse yourself in a festive evening as Broadway stars, representing over 25 Broadway shows, serenade you with timeless musical numbers, holiday classics and Broadway Christmas songs. Always remember your magical night with a joyful visit from Santa himself, where you and your family can take a photo with him at the Theater.

“5 Golden Rings” at Dunedin Fine Art Center

“5 Golden Rings,” the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s 37th annual Holiday Show & Sale is on exhibit through December 22nd at DFAC, 1143 Michigan Blvd. The annual show and sale is a marketplace of cool, affordable artist-made goods. 

Also happening in December at DFAC, “Creative StArt,” an exhibit featuring work created in Pinellas County elementary school art classes, is on display from December 15th to January 19th, 2024 in the Kokolakis Family Youth Gallery. A reception is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on January 14th.

For more information, go to DFAC

Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Ghosts Of Christmas Eve

Saturday, December 23 from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Go on an electrifying musical journey with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) as the American rock opera band returns with The Ghosts of Christmas Eve: The Best of TSO and More at Amalie Arena. With over 10 million albums sold out and having performed for more than 15 million live fans, TSO performs mind-blowing, multi-generational holiday music that will rock your festive season.

Fred Johnson & Helios Jazz Orchestra

Friday, December 1, 6:30 to 9 p.m.

Join the Warehouse Arts District Association, Arts Axis, the City of St. Petersburg and EMIT for a mesmerizing outdoor concert by the renowned Fred Johnson and the Helios Jazz Orchestra. Johnson, an iconic jazz singer, uses his extensive knowledge as an educator, social justice advocate, arts champion and community leader to weave together culture into an enchanting artistic experience. To enrich this musical celebration, there will also be a round table discussion to address food insecurity in St. Pete. Don't miss this chance to experience Johnson's soulful melodies and engage in meaningful dialogue, all in the heart of St. Pete’s creative community at the Arts Xchange.

December First Friday Holiday Outdoor Art Market

Friday, December 1, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Indulge in a fusion of creativity, tasty bites and live music at the December First Friday Holiday Outdoor Art Market hosted by Creative Clay Transition student artists and Community Arts program member artists. 

Ceramics, paintings and one-of-a-kind greeting cards will showcase a diverse array of subjects, each hand-crafted with skill and charm. Commemorate your Art Market experience with a live portrait drawing created by member artists, with 100% of donations going directly to the artists. Live music by Emily Turnage creates an enchanting backdrop for the artist showcase, along with a karaoke sing-along where member artists and attendees can join in on the fun. Kickstart December by celebrating local talent with a dynamic blend of art, music and community at Creative Clay.

“Our art market is curated to inspire and delight for the holidays,” Creative Clay CEO Kim Dohrman says. “There will be an amazing assortment of hand-made gifts, holiday cards and original artwork.”

Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival

Saturday, December 2nd, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, December 3rd, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Enjoy an artisanal wonderland at the 44th Annual Lutz Arts and Crafts Festival with over 200 talented creatives showcasing handcrafted jewelry, original artwork, wood and metal crafts, lush plants and more. 

Presented by the Lutz-Land O’Lakes General Federation of Women's Club at the scenic Keystone Prep High School campus, club women are curating a fulfilling experience for families, friends and the entire community at this free weekend event. With the holidays approaching, this is also the perfect time for your family to capture festive photos with the one and only Santa Claus during your outing.

Studio 55: Introduction to Digital Art Making

Sunday, December 3, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Tap into your creativity at Studio 55, a spirited community at the Tampa Museum of Art designed for adults aged 55 and older who share a passion for art and artmaking. At Studio 55’s Introduction to Digital Art Making, embrace the world of digital artistry with the immersive 8-session course that teaches you how to use a tablet or phone as a canvas for your next masterpiece. 

From Procreate and Adobe Fresco to Sketchbook, explore new mediums, learn new tools and make like-minded friends at Studio 55. As a part of the museum’s commitment to the Vitality Arts Project for Art Museums, generously funded by E.A. Michelson Philanthropy, Studio 55 is dedicated to combating ageism by fostering a vibrant artistic community.

Benefit concert for Penguin Project, Ampersand Theatre 

Dr. David and Friends, a group led by local pediatrician Dr. David Berger, will perform a benefit concert for the New Tampa Players’ Penguin Project and Ampersand Theatre on Sunday, December 3rd, at Tiki Cove, 2700 Land O’Lakes Blvd., in Land O’ Lakes. The concert will also include performances by members of Penguin Project and Ampersand Theatre. Penguin Project is a nonprofit theater program for children with special needs. Ampersand Theatre is a new hands-on theater program run by New Tampa Players in which adults with disabilities learn about choreography, acting, music, lights, sound, marketing, box office, costumes and set design. 

For more information and tickets, go to Dr. David concert.
Enjoy this story? Sign up for free solutions-based reporting in your inbox each week.

Read more articles by Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy.

Zebrina Edgerton-Maloy is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Tampa. She earned her BA in Journalism from Washington and Lee University in May 2016. Zebrina is also a social media specialist and content writer for startup companies and small businesses. She helps build their brand through social media management and creates their brand story through content writing. She is constantly motivated by Tampa Bay's entrepreneurial spirit. Zebrina is dedicated to share entrepreneurs' stories of grit, passion and innovation. Learn more at her website and follow her on Instagram or Twitter @zebrinaemaloy.