Most anticipated news on the Tampa arts scene for 2022

While the pandemic largely halted or stalled growth in the Tampa Bay Area’s art scene starting in early 2020, one thing has become as clear as glass: The arts remain a creative and economic force to be reckoned with in 2022 and beyond. 

Whether it was with fairs like the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts creating new ways for audiences to connect with artisans in with their dynamic virtual fair platform, or with local theaters like Stageworks using more technology to bring plays right into your home with live-streamed performances, players in the Tampa Bay Area art scene made the most out of the situation at hand. 
Now that people are beginning to feel more comfortable in resuming life like we knew it pre-COVID, there are a lot of arts plans brewing. Keeping reading below for just a few things to expect in the new year.
Hillsborough Community College, Tempus Projects collaboration
Hillsborough Community College (HCC) recently received a Community Arts Impact Grant from the Arts Council of Hillsborough County to do another big project under their Grounds4Art Public Art Program. As a follow up to their recent NEST Project -- or Nourishment, Education, and Social Terraces -- HCC will be bringing back interdisciplinary artist Tory Tepp in a partnership with Tempus Projects, which will be hosting him as an artist-in-residence.
“With COVID, lots of things didn’t go according to plan with NEST, especially if planned pre-pandemic. One aspect of that project was a mobile informational kiosk to be deployed during the research phase in fall 2020, but that was at the height of the lockdown, so we did completely online community outreach,’’ says says Amanda Poss, Gallery Director at HCC. “This time, we wanted to revisit this with in-person community engagement to hear what people want to see in this new project.”
Currently called Fledgling, Tepp will be creating a mobile sculpture that can leave the NEST and be used for community programming and multi-use activation that would be aesthetically intriguing while also growing awareness around food insecurity. Details are still in flux, but sustainability is the priority with the sculpture being pedal-powered and possibly having a trailer that can unfold to create a space that can disseminate seeds, food, and information.
Fabrication is planned to begin this month, with volunteers and other community partners like Feeding Tampa Bay getting involved. After completion, a community unveiling celebration is being tentatively slated for the end of February or early March to have a send-off before Spring Break. To keep updated with this project, visit the Grounds4Art website or follow their Facebook page
Tempus Project’s new gallery space to be completed
For the past year, Tempus Projects has been couch-hopping from one venue to the next after moving out of their long-time residence at 4636 N. Florida Ave, with brief stints at LiveWork Studios before acquiring a bigger -- but still temporary -- space at the Old Bali Trading Company building.
Why all the shuffling around? Tempus has been waiting for the build-out of their forever home at 3800 N. Nebraska Ave., where they will be sharing residence with Deviant Libation Brewery and Crab Devil’s immersive art attractive Peninsularium. By early spring 2022, Tempus plans to be moved into their new exhibition space with the hope of debuting the 4th iteration of their annual Sunistra exhibition, which is a quirky show that focuses on the sinister side of the Sunshine State.
Because of the growing trend of fans wanting more intimate experiences with the musicians they follow, Tempus Projects plans on doing quarterly Living Room Concerts throughout 2022, which is something new they have recently added to their schedule.
Learn more about Tempus Projects.
Crab Devil’s experiential installation Peninsularium anticipates bigger progress this year
Speaking of the Devil …
“Crab Devil’s goal is to get Tempus Projects and Deviant Libation Brewery into the new building first; that’s Phase 1. Once that has happened, then it’s full steam ahead with Peninsularium,” says Tracy Midulla, Creative Director of Crab Devil.
If things go as projected, Midulla believes that big steps forward in opening the Peninsularium will begin mid to late 2022. While artists are working on individual components that will be placed inside the immersive shipping containers, a lot of major work can’t happen until the containers are moved on-site.
To tease and excite locals with what they’ll have to look forward to soon, Crab Devil plans to have a shipping container set up at both the Gasparilla Music Festival in February and the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts in March.
Read more in-depth and follow the Peninsularium on Facebook.
Florida Museum of Photographic Arts looks for new spacious home
At 20 years young, the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts (FMoPA) is looking to stretch its wings and start the process of looking into relocating into a larger space. While they have come to love their current iconic space in downtown Tampa’s round building at Kennedy Boulevard and Ashley Drive,  their goal is to grow their educational program by having better classrooms while simultaneously nurturing the local photography community.
“We would like to stay in the area -- whether downtown or even Ybor -- but be able to have the pedestrian-level interaction,” says Zora Carrier, Executive Director of FMoPA. “We’d like to have a main floor of our own to act as a social hub, which is really important for the organism of the museum.”
With financial campaigns in progress, FMoPA is currently working with city government and investors who have development projects in town in the near future. They would be willing to pursue a variety of options from remodeling or sharing space in an existing building to helping create a new building designed specifically for their mission.
“Tampa is growing with such big steps. The people that live here really care about quality of life and want to have something to do outside of their professional life,” Carrier says. “Every profession can benefit from learning about photography as a major communication tool, but right now we are not able to offer the range of classes for the community that we want.”
To keep up with the latest, follow FMoPA on Facebook
Tampa Museum of Art pursues $68M expansion plan
Looking to break ground sometime in 2022, the Tampa Museum of Art will be -- quite literally -- building on their current assets to become an even more vibrant cultural hotspot in the community. 

With a $68 million budget at hand, the TMA will be working with the New York-based Weiss Manfredi design firm to add a four-story, glass-walled appendage to the museum’s current structure. Hovering over the Riverwalk, the building will create an amphitheater sheltered from the sometimes-harsh summer weather -- and extend right up to the Hillsborough River.
“We have found ourselves limited at the moment because we are simply out of space. [With this expansion,] we are doubling the amount of gallery spaces which will give us six galleries for our permanent collection, which continues to grow and is now over 8,600 works of art to share with the public,” says Dr. Michael Tomor, Executive Director of the Tampa Museum of Art, in a video interview.
The museum’s floor space will grow tremendously, from 69,000 to 125,000 square feet, making room for a brand-new auditorium and education wing that will house four classrooms, a lobby, orientation spaces, and a new entrance.
Though the TMA looks large, some visitors note that they felt like the space is much smaller on the inside, so one of the biggest perks of this plan is that exhibition space will grow from 14,800 to over 43,000 square feet to better show off exhibitions featuring their permanent collection, which will stay up for a minimum of one full year to better share with the public what has been hiding out in storage for so long.
Besides providing more opportunities for museum visitors, this expansion plan will also boost the local economy by providing over 400 local construction jobs. With a 30-40 percent increase in their budget, TMA also plans on hiring even more educators, curators, and other staff members.
To keep up with the Tampa Museum of Art’s expansion, follow their Facebook page.
USF’s Contemporary Art Museum re-envisions fundraising
Editor's note: THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED AS OF JANUARY 6. "We tried to push it later but unfortunately it just won’t work with the artist’s schedule,'' says Mark Fredricks, Communications Specialist, Institute for Research in Art, Graphicstudio / USFCAM.

Instead of the same old stuffy fundraising gala, USF CAM is pulling together a food and art dining experience called Culinaria, which may help spur innovative thinking around fundraising events and parties.
“I was thinking of how to do a fundraiser that’s not a fundraiser,” says Margaret Miller, Professor and Director of the Institute for Research in Art at the University of South Florida’s Contemporary Art Museum. “My sponsors will be funding tickets for me to give to artists and other people in the arts community so that everyone that makes up the arts ecosystem can come.”
Coinciding with Bosco Sodi’s solo exhibition BÁSICO exhibition at the museum, Culinaria guests will be treated to a multi-course, candle-lit dinner of modern Mexican cuisine crafted by chef Alfredo Vergara, who was previously at El Celler de Can Roca in Girona.
Not only will guests enjoy perusing the museum during and after their meal, but they will also be treated to an intimate performance of Tabula Rasa, where Sodi will be making his signature clay spheres filled with three corn seeds as a symbol of new beginnings and the cycle of life (guests will even be able to take one of them home at the end of the night).

Tickets for Culinaria, which will be held Feb. 5, are $500 each. Interested community members can email [email protected] for more information and to purchase tickets. 

Tampa’s Arts & Cultural Affairs kicks off new initiatives
2022 is shaping up to be an essential building year for the Tampa Arts & Cultural Affairs Department with major projects that have just begun, like continuing their Arts on the Block initiative that aims to bring art into neighborhoods, and even more projects underway.
One of the most highly awaited projects to get underway is Soul Walk, a collaboration with Tampa Housing Authority and Related Urban that will celebrate the spirit of the African American community here in Tampa. Once completed, Soul Walk should include around 60 commissioned works of art -- stemming from recent RFQ’s sent out to artists -- to serve as an African American Heritage Trail in Hillsborough County linking places like The City Center, the East Tampa Community Center, various places of Tampa Riverwalk, and other notable sites together. 
“Developers like Related Group and Tampa Housing Authority are looking at how to integrate arts into everyday life in neighborhoods with Soul Walk,” says Robin Nigh, Art Programs Manager of Tampa Arts & Cultural Affairs. “We also have major projects with FDOT that are just starting, but the wheels are turning slowly with this project because so many stages and levels. We’re aiming for a 2024-2025 completion date for some of the projects that are getting underway now.”
What makes these projects particularly exciting is that artists are being brought on in the beginning design phase of these projects so that the arts can be better integrated with the landscape and building architecture for a more powerful visual impact.
“Tampa is maturing beautifully in the sense that you have these groups like the Tampa Arts Alliance, Mergeculture, and Crab Devil coming up with such exciting projects. It’s nice to see such good energy coming together,” Nigh says.
Learn more about Tampa’s Arts & Cultural Affairs.
Straz gains momentum for Master Plan expansion
Recently, the Tampa City Council CRA approved $25 million in funding towards the Straz’s Master Plan, with matching funds to be acquired through their private campaign “Boundless.”
The Straz Center also received a $1 million grant from Bank of America to go toward renovation of their 35-year-old building for the performing arts.
Though this Master Plan will only be in its beginning stages through 2022, the Straz anticipates their campus to be even more welcoming to the downtown area and include even more accessible options to enter (arriving by boat will be an option), with more outdoor terraces and stages for open-air performances to take advantage of their location on the Tampa Riverwalk.
Keep up with happenings at The Straz.
Mergeculture cooks up Tampa-based mural festival
St. Petersburg has their much-loved SHINE Mural Festival, but soon Tampa will have one of its very own in 2022.
Mergeculture Gallery has always been invested in the realm of public art—specifically murals. As a gallery/art placement and consulting specialist, they have been working on mural projects all across the west coast of Florida. They have now joined forces with Worldwide Walls (previously known as Pow Wow! Worldwide), a mural organization initially started in Hawaii in 2010 that now hosts mural festivals all over the globe.
Tampa Walls will join this network of mural celebrations, with the inaugural festival kicking off April 1-12, 2022. Mural lovers can anticipate seeing works from both local and international artists, with projects across Seminole Heights, West Tampa, and the Westshore area.
“We’ve also been in touch with Robin Nigh from the City of Tampa’s Arts & Cultural Affairs Department to see about integrating mural projects from Tampa Walls with their Art on the Block Program. It’s about working through the process and finding ways for these two initiatives to meet in the middle,” says Tony Krol, Director of Mergeculture Gallery.
More information and ways the community can get involved, volunteer, or donate can be found on their webpage. You can also keep up with the latest happenings on their Facebook page
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Read more articles by Caitlin Albritton.

Caitlin Albritton is a freelance writer based in Tampa with a BFA from Savannah College of Art and Design and a MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art. When she's not looking at art throughout town, she can be found making it. You can keep up with her visual art on Instagram @caitlinalbritton or on her website. Visit her recent line of inlay “wearable paintings.”