May arts roundup: concerts, fringe fest, shrimp-themed immersive art...and so much more

Duplicator” features RISO prints at Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL 

Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL presents “Duplicator,”  a collaborative exhibition with Print St. Pete that features prints and zines exploring the magic of RISO printing. 

The RISO Printer-Duplicator, or Risograph, is a digital duplicating machine developed by the Riso Kagaku Corporation in Japan. Functionally a cross between photocopying and screen printing, a Risograph is a highly-automated type of mimeograph machine that makes prints by creating a stencil from a master document, wrapping the stencil around a drum and pushing soy-based ink through the stencil onto paper at high speeds. Since their release in the 1980s, Risograph machines have become widely popular among artists, designers and zine-makers for their ability to produce a high volume of prints in distinctly vibrant colors at a relatively low cost and low environmental impact. All of the work in “Duplicator” at DoCA Tampa, FL was printed at Print St. Pete, a community letterpress and Risograph print shop in Gulfport founded by Kaitlin Crockett and Bridget Elmer. 

“For ‘Duplicator,’ Mia Makes It, an awesome artist and friend of mine, told me Kaitlin Crockett of Print St. Pete was looking for somewhere to have an exhibition of RISO prints and I was immediately interested in the idea,” says DoCA founder Emiliano Settecasi. “I've known about RISO printing for several years just from seeing images of RISO prints online and I've always been drawn to their unique aesthetic.” 

“The saturation of the inks and their ability to be layered to create new colors similar to painting, combined with the tiny imperfections that arise from printing multiple pages super fast, results in an end product that seems very accessible and human even though it's a machine-based process,” Settecasi continues. “I was excited for the opportunity to work with an organization like Print St. Pete that collaborates with local artists, some I know and some with whom I now have the opportunity to get acquainted for the first time, and that specializes in and has a passion for the RISO process. Selfishly now I too get to learn about the process and make my own RISO print for the show.”

Featured artists include Kaitlin Crockett, Digital Disco, Eleanor Eichenbaum, Joe Frontel, Tyler Gillespie, Jujmo, Mia Makes It, Noelle McCleaf, Becky Rudolf, Chris Sellen, Emiliano Settecasi, and Jeff Williams.

“I'm honored at the incredible opportunity to showcase the first all-Risograph exhibition in the Tampa Bay area, and I'm excited to share this magical, imperfect, analog form of printmaking with the community,” says Kaitlin Crockett of Print St. Pete.

“Duplicator” will be on display from May 4th-25th. The opening reception is  6 p.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, May 4th. This event is free and open to the public. Additional open hours are to be announced via Instagram @departmentofcontemporaryarttpa. Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FL is located on the second floor of the Ybor City Kress Building at 1624 E. 7th Ave. Suite 237. 

For more information or to schedule a viewing appointment, go to Department of Contemporary Art Tampa, FLor contact Emiliano Settecasi by email at [email protected] and by phone at (813) 484-5230. 

Moving Current Dance Collective NewGrounds concert 

Each year, Moving Current Dance Collective and the Hillsborough Community College dance program produce a community project that embraces all types of movers, youth, older adults, experienced dancers, and those trying dance out for the first time. 

This year’s project is created by Jennifer Salk, an associate professor and former chair of the dance department at the University of Washington and a former associate professor of dance at the University of South Florida.

Through a series of workshops at the end of April, Salk made site-responsive dance for the HCC Mainstage Theatre’s second-floor lobby.  The dance will be showcased in Moving Current Dance Collective’s 2023 NewGrounds concert on May 13th and 14th at the Mainstage Theatre at the HCC Ybor City campus.
For more information, go to Moving Current NewGrounds.

"Shrimpfinity" installation open now in Fairgrounds St. Pete

Immersive art and technology museum Fairgrounds St. Pete has expanded for the first time since its December 2021 grand opening with the new immersive art installation "Shrimpfinity." 

The 600-square-foot expansion features the art installation created by MILAGROS Collective, consisting of Felici Asteinza and Joey Fillastre, as well as their collaborators Jaime Bird, Jourdan Joly, Jessica Bizer and Tristan Whitehill. 

Asteinza and Fillastre originally met while studying at Florida State University in Tallahassee and bonded over a similar philosophy on art. They started working together around 2008 and are currently based in New Orleans. When asked about the installation theme inspiration, Asteinza notes that in New Orleans, “there’s a lot of shrimp energy.” 

“Most people have positive and joyful interactions with shrimp,” adds Fillastre. “Aesthetically, shrimp are curly and pink and fun-looking.”

The shrimp-themed immersive art installation "Shrimpfinity" at Fairgrounds St. Pete."Shrimpfinity" is a fully immersive shrimp-themed installation featuring intricate hand-painted designs, projected animations, a six-foot-tall shrimp cocktail sculpture, a shrimp disco ball and more. It is all set to an original soundtrack in a never-before-seen part of Fairgrounds St. Pete.

Asteinza notes the Collective’s name is inspired by her Latin heritage. 

“Milagros means miracles,” she says. “That is a good fit for our work, in the context of providing a miraculous surprise. A lot of what we do is transform a space and give people an “aha!” moment.”

The fun and whimsical “Shrimpfinity” installation does just that. 

For more information, go to Fairgrounds St Pete.

Uptown Music Festival May 6th at the University Area Community Park

The third annual Uptown Music Festival brings together Tampa’s Uptown District community and highlights Tampa Bay’s rich culture and music on May 6th. 

The one-day event draws Tampa residents from Tampa and surrounding areas to the Uptown District for a day of music and art. With over 20,000 residents living in unincorporated Hillsborough County, the Uptown Music Festival is quickly becoming one of the premier cultural events in the area.

The third annual Uptown Music Festival is  4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 6th, at the University Area Park 14013 N. 22nd St., Tampa. Reserved seating and general admission are available. 

For more information, go to Uptown Music Festival.

Tropical Heatwave is back

After a seven-year hiatus, 88.5 WMNF’s Tropical Heatwave concert returns to the Cuban Club in Ybor City on Saturday, May 6th. 

Some of this year’s headliners are blues, soul and Americana artist Shemekia Copeland; funk, soul and rock act Seratones; electric blues revivalists GA-20; and blues, rock and country act the Eileen Jewell Band.

For more information, go to Tropical Heatwave.

Gallery Talk on Herb Snitzer

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 11th at St. Petersburg College’s Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Robin O’Dell, the former curator of the photographic collection at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, will give a gallery talk on legendary photographer Herb Snitzer.

Most famous for his photographs of legendary New York City jazz musicians of the 1950s and early 1960s, Snitzer spent nearly 70 years photographing people from all walks of life. His work is on display through June 25th at Leepa-Rattner in the exhibit “Herb Snitzer: In the Present.”An exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art displays the work of the late photographer Herb Snitzer, who was known for his photographs of jazz legends like Miles Davis, pictured here backstage at the 1990 Newport Jazz Festival.

Snitzer lived in St. Petersburg for the last 30 years of his life before he passed away in 2022. O’Dell curated a major exhibition of his work that was on display at the MFA in 2018 before it traveled to New York.

For more information, go to Leepa-Rattner Gallery Talk and Herb Snitzer: In the Present.

Jobsite Theater’s “ALICE” at Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center

Jobsite Theater’s “ALICE” is a brand-new cabaret spectacle based on the writing of Lewis Carroll that fuses live music, visual art, puppetry, aerial and circus arts and more. 

This original work is not simply categorized as a play or musical but it is at its core pure Jobsite magic. 

“Jobsite’s ALICE” is a cabaret spectacle celebrating the work of Lewis Carroll. Jobsite adapted their favorite parts of both “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through the Looking Glass” as well as some of Carroll's standalone poetry into another fun-filled Jobsite cabaret spectacle.

“The thing that’s really special for me is that this show is ours, from the ground up,” says David Jenkins, producing artistic director and co-founder at Jobsite. “It’s why we’re calling it ‘Jobsite’s ALICE.’ The entire visual aesthetic is based on Spencer Meyers’ original artwork, now being made manifest in these amazing puppets, props, and costumes. Jeremy Douglass has made a completely original score, with collaboration from cast members Colleen Cherry and Kasondra Rose. Kasondra and Katrina Stevenson (also in the cast and making the costumes) have choreographed these high-energy dance numbers and aerial Lyra segments. This show has it all, I think anyone wowed by Shockheaded Peter is absolutely going to love this. “

“Jobsite's ALICE” has preview performances on May 10th and 11th and runs from May 12th to June 4th at the Shimberg Playhouse, Straz Center.

The show is adapted by David M. Jenkins, Spencer P. Meyers and Katrina Stevenson; with art direction by Spencer P. Meyers; music by Jeremy Douglass and Juniper Douglass; and lyrics by Lewis Carroll, Colleen Cherry, Jeremy Douglass and Kasondra Rose.

For more information, go to Jobsite Theater ALICE.

“Fire Thief” at LAB Theater Project

“Fire Thief,” a play by New York-based playwright, director and stage manager Laura Hirshberg, is at the LAB Theater Project in Tampa from May 4th through 21st.

The play is a drama based on Greek myth that explores the path of the titan Prometheus as he sacrifices his place on Mt. Olympus to bring fire to mankind. “Fire Thief” is directed by LAB Theater Project founder and producer Owen Robertson and features local actors Christopher Rushing, Jakob Nordstrom, Brooke West and Maurice Parker.

“When I first read Fire Thief, I found the story engaging and the concept new," Robertson says in a press release. "Exploring what it was like for Prometheus to take the fire of the gods and give it to humanity was an exciting starting point. And then came examining the relationship between the two brothers, Prometheus and Epimetheus, and what happens when a desire to do good leads to betrayal. Hirschberg takes the audience on a journey through complicated relationships against the backdrop of mythology. Playing with Titans -- what director wouldn’t want this opportunity?”

For more information, go to LAB Theater Project

Seventh Annual Tampa International Fringe Festival, Ybor City 

The eclectic performing arts festival known as the Tampa International Fringe Festival returns to Ybor City May 10th through 14th. With over 30 acts from across Tampa Bay and the world performing over five days, expect storytelling, comedy, theatre, dance, stand-up, surreal lectures, sketch comedy, Kids Fringe and more. All shows are one hour or less and affordably priced to encourage experiencing several shows. 

This year, the Fringe Festival is introducing a brand new year-round venue: The Fringe Theatre, on the third- floor of the bustling arts hub at the Historic Ybor City Kress Building on Seventh Avenue. The Fringe Festival will still have venues at HCC this year, as well as an outdoor show and a few new pop-up venues. 

For more information, go to Tampa Fringe Festival.

"Sunlit After Dark" with St. Petersburg Press and Keep St. Pete Lit

On May 12th at the Palladium Theater Side Door, St. Petersburg Press and Keep St. Pete Lit present “Sunlit After Dark,” an evening of music, mingling and manuscripts. Special guests will present their literary year in review from the perspectives of retail, publishing, writing and education.

One of the five finalists will win the Roy Peter Clark Award. The Roy Peter Clark Award – sponsored annually by the St. Petersburg Press – celebrates outstanding contributions to the St. Petersburg story and is presented in recognition of the recipient’s outstanding contribution to the greater St. Petersburg literary community.

Tickets are free with a suggested donation to support the efforts of Keep St. Pete Lit. 

For more information, go to Sunlit After Dark.

Chinese brush painting workshop with Jo-An Thomas at the Morean Arts Center

Artist Jo-An Thomas gives a workshop on Chinese brush painting on from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 13th at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg. The beginners’ workshop will teach the basics through hands-on instruction, complete compositions, handouts and discussion. 

You will start by calming your spirit, thinking and meditating about how you will paint the essence of your subject. Preparing yourself to paint, you will use “The Four Treasures”- brush, ink stick, ink stone, and rice paper- that have defined this art form for thousands of years.

For more information, go to Chinese brush painting workshop.

“Taking Pictures: Women of Independent Spirit” at Tampa Museum of Art.  

“Taking Pictures: Women of Independent Spirit” is on display at the Tampa Museum of Art through October 8th. 

The exhibit celebrates the anonymous women who shaped the evolution of vernacular photography. Vernacular photography is an umbrella term used to distinguish fine art photographs from those made by non-artists. This exhibit is full of snapshots of and by women capturing everyday life. 

"Taking Pictures: Women of Independent Spirit" at the Tampa Museum of Art displays vernacular photographs from the collection of Peter J. Cohen.The vision for this body of work came from renowned gallerist Julie Saul, who became intrigued with the extensive collection of over 100,000 photographs in the collection of Peter J. Cohen in New York. She collaborated with independent curator Carly Ries to sort through the photographic archive spanning the analog era from the 1890s through the 1990s.

Together, they chart photography’s momentum across the 20th century as a medium for self-expression alongside the expansion of women’s independence. As self-trained image makers and collaborative subjects, women played out new ways of being in the world both in front of, and behind, the camera. Arranged here in constellations, the photographs connect through shared gestures, shadow patterns and echoing poses of women belonging to an intersection of race, class, age and era.

Many who have visited the exhibit on display now at the Tampa Museum have commented that the collection is so relatable and accessible that they often searched in expectation of finding themselves or their family in the photos. The photographs record vibrant times, magic hours, private performances, and experiments with identity.

The journey made by each image is evident on the surface of the photograph itself, with its frayed edges, creases, and scratches; often inspiring the viewer to dig through their own albums and collections with new appreciation. 

For more information, go to Tampa Museum of Art.

Creative Pinellas 2023 Emerging Artist Exhibition 

The Gallery at Creative Pinellas is hosting an opening reception for the 2023 Emerging Artist Exhibition from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 4th. The annual exhibition is on display from May 5th through July 16th. 

This seventh annual exhibition features original work by artists awarded grants from Creative Pinellas: Troy Bernardo, Jenipher Chandley, Marie Cummings, Kathryn Cummins, Dennis DeBon, Kimberly Engel, Patrick Arthur Jackson, Aimee Jones, Amy Wolf and Agueda Zabisky.

 “The showcase (opening) May 5 invites art lovers in the community and outside Tampa Bay to see innovative and exciting work by artists at a point of their trajectory where they are just taking off,” St. Clair says. “What I love most about the program is that we are not trying to change or form the artists in any specific way. We are supercharging who they are. Like STP oil for the engine. The program gives turbo to what already exists, more power and umph that supports the artists as they are.”Creative Pinellas' 2023 Emerging Artist Exhibition runs from May 5th through July 16th.

Over the next few months, art appreciators will have the opportunity to listen and get to know the 2023 Emerging Artists as they speak about their art practice and exhibition collection at The Gallery at Creative Pinellas.

Beginning on May 13th and running through July 16th, this year’s emerging artists will present Artist Talks at 1 p.m. on select Saturdays and Sundays. Those events and the exhibition are free and open to the public. The opening ceremony is also free and open to the public, but an RSVP is requested. 

For more information, go to Emerging Artists opening reception and Artist Talks.

“Fresh Squeezed” at Morean Arts Center

Each year, the Morean Arts Center invites emerging artists living in Florida to submit entries for possible inclusion in the exhibition in “Fresh Squeezed: Emerging Artists in Florida.” This year’s exhibition is on display at the Morean Arts Center through June 22nd.

The exhibition is intended to nurture and advance the careers of emerging visual artists while giving the community an opportunity to discover exciting new art and artists from the region. This year’s “Fresh Squeezed” artists are Laura De Valencia, Tallahassee; Latonya Hicks, Clearwater; Deborah W. Perlman, Hollywood; Leeann Rae, Orlando; KJ Skidmore, Tampa; and Denise Treizman, Miami.

For more information, go to Fresh Squeezed.

“Beyond Limits” at Studio 1212 Art Gallery in Dunedin

“Beyond Limits,” an art show featuring new work from area artists, is on display at Studio 1212 Art Gallery in downtown Dunedin through June 4th. Our show and his inspiring commentaries on each winning piece are not to be missed.

The show is open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Local artist Lyle Polyak served as judge for the art show competition and his commentaries on each winning piece are on display with the artwork.

This year's "Beyond Limits" winners are:

Best in Show, Mykola Herum, “Our Wish Will Come True.”
-1st Place, John Haseney, “Hidden Lake.”
-2nd Place, Diedre Herndon, “Sunning on a Sunday.”
-3rd Place, Valorie Vogel, Midnight Rose
-Honorable Mention, Linda Keene, “Just Dreaming.”
-Honorable Mention, Lynda Hamlett, “Women of Beauty.”

Judge’s special awards:

-Cutest painting (worthy of a children’s book), Lynn Shaffer, “Save the Moonatees.”
-Most whimsical, Judy Ransom, “Girl’s Night Out.”
-Best local flavor, Debbie Lewis, “Dunedin: Quintessential Yet Unlimited.”

For more information, go to Studio 1212.
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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.