Derek Donnelly’s COVE Displays a Broad Spectrum of Visual Art Trendsetters

February 07, 2017 by JULIE GARISTO | VISUAL ARTS
Left to right, artists Derek Donnelly, John Gascot and Lacey Myers. Photo: Daniel Veintimilla
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All images by Daniel Veintimilla for Creative Pinellas

Derek Donnelly, muralist, Carmada painter,  former owner of Saint Paint and member of Bloom Collective, helped bring awareness to St. Petersburg’s 600 Block.

The exterior of COVE. Photo: Daniel Veintimilla

A couple of months ago he opened a new gallery he calls COVE, an acronym for Creative Opportunities & Visual Entertainment, where he’s pioneering an exciting, burgeoning scene in Pinellas Park, specifically in The Pinellas Park Art Village, which also includes Swartz Gallery, Pompei Studio, Studios at 5663, the Wordier Than Thou Bookstore  and more. The Pinellas Park Arts Village is open daily and hosts a monthly art walk the fourth Saturday of every month.

Creative Pinellas popped by COVE and was impressed by the variety of works on display, from the animal portraiture of Donnelly to the multifaceted yet personal Zulu Painter to the dreamlike Mason Schwacke. Other highlights include a stunning skateboard deck by Calan Ree and a variety of works by Reid Jenkins and Scott Hillis, which comprise a bit of both realism and expressionism distinguished by their idiosyncratic uniqueness.

COVE offers a prismatic triptych into the young and established vanguard of our  County’s visual art scene.

“(Donnelly) really contributed to the formation of the arts district from the very beginning and clearly was dedicated to the idea of developing that district,” Debra Rose, the city’s library and cultural affairs administrator, told the Tampa Bay Times last fall when the gallery opened.

According to the Times story, the city paid $250,000 for the project and serves as the landlord to Donnelly, who is paying $1,000 a month to live there. The space, composed of rehabbed shipping containers, was designed by Wesley Osborne and Robert Cox, who own the architecture firm idesign as well as Sun Dog Structures, a business that manufactures and supplies the containers.

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*Creative Pinellas welcomes submissions from practicing artists for publication in our artists directory. To submit, please fill out the form here. Such publication does not constitute on endorsement by Creative Pinellas and does not imply a judgement about the quality of the work or the participating artist.