The Skyway Exhibition trifecta:æThe historic Skyway collaboration demonstrated “that there is an abundance of talented contemporary artists creating work very relevant to the national discourse on art, on par with the rigor found in more established art communities and able to hold its own in any city but thankfully hangs its hat in Tampa Bay,” saidæCreative Pinellas Editor Danny Olda in his review.
A milestone in the Tampa Bay regional arts community and monumental effort in collaboration, the history-makingæSkyway: A Contemporary Collaborationæheld court at the Tampa Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Art in St. Petersburg and the Ringling Museum in Sarasota.
Standouts included a compelling interplay between by artistsæNoelle MasonæandæGregory Greenæat the Museum of Fine Art, whose worksæexplored violence and depicted meticulous preparations for mass violence specifically. InæLove Letters/White Flag (Book of God)æ(2016), Mason reproduced journal entries of the Columbine High School Massacre shooters as more than 200 hand-embroidered handkerchiefs.æGreenäó»s installation,æWorktable #9, He of Righteousness, (Minneapolis, Saint Petersburg)æ(2017), offered a bomb-building workshop frozen in a moment mid-task, as if the bomb-maker were merely taking a bathroom break.
The sculptural, meditative installations ofæBabs ReingoldæandæCharles Parkhillæused time-worn wood to convey their messages.æ In paintings such asæPalpable Bluræ(2016) andæFuturist Feelingsæ(2016), artistæWalter Matthewsædisplayed works with an equally confident color palette and brush stroke.æ One of the biggest attention-grabbers:æAkiko Kotaniäó»s imposing yet snuggly æSoft Wallsæ(2016) greeted visitors in the center of the space.æNeil Bender of Tampa created an installation for the MFA, and Eckerd College professoræKirk Ke Wang set up at the Ringling.
MFA’s Literary Carousel:ææA SunLit Festival event, presented byæKeep St. Pete Lit, æäóìThe Literary Carousel at the MFAäó featuredæprominent Bay area writers reading prose and verse inspired by vintage photographs from theæMuseum of Fine Artsäó» permanent collection. Participants included Tampa Bay Times Features Editor Stephanie Hayes, author and Times writer Ben Montgomery, freelance writer Sandra Gadsden, Palladium Executive Director Paul Wilborn, Creative Loafing Editor David Warner, author Steph Post and Creative Pinellas Assistant Editor Julie Garisto. Their pieces fetched laughs, gasps and awe with a diverse range of tone and subject matter. æTopics ranged from a jealous sports car to a schizophrenic actor to missives from a Nuclear Holocaust. The photos specially curated by Robin Oäó»Dell, Curatorial Administrator & Manager of Photographic Collections, andæTodd Bates, a St. Pete-based freelance creative director and founder of theæCarouselæevent series, took on a memorable new life.
La Lucha’s big week at Clearwater Jazz Holiday and Creative Pinellas’s Emerging Artists exhibition:æLa Lucha breathes new life into jazz with their expert musicianship and ingenious improvisations. The St. Petersburg-based trio comprises three best friends from three different parts of the world — Colombia, Mexico and the United States, and their repertoire mixes jazz standards, Latin-inspired rhythms and original compositions.
Drummer Mark Feinman, a recipient of Creative Pinellas’s Impact Returns grant, created a finely textured original composition. La Lucha performed the breathtakingly genre-defying piece, conjuring elements of experimental jazz, Pink Floyd atmospheric indie like Sigur Ros and 1960s sci-fi movie scores.
The Emerging Artists exhibition took place in the gallery next to the home of Creative Pinellas‘s offices at the former Gulf Coast Museum of art, at 12211 Walsingham Road in Largo. The exhibition features new work from the 10 2017 Emerging Artist grantees representing five disciplines:æGloria Muí±oz, Literature/Poetry;æKellie Hanson, Choreography;æMark Feinman, Music Composition/Jazz; Desireí© MooreæandæJeff George, Media Arts/Film-Video; andæNathan Beard, Jacob Troyli, Kenny Jensen, Shannon Leah HalvorsenæandæElizabeth Barenis, Visual Arts.
A few days before, La Lucha performed their first set on their own with major guest playersæ at the Clearwater Jazz Holiday.ææJeff Rupertæon sax,æMarty Morellæon vibraphone andæMichikoææon congas joined La Lucha fora tight, wonderfully varied set with their uniquelyæretooled standardsæand originals by each of the musicians onstage.
Flying at Studio@620:æIt’s always great to see a local success story unfold especially when it happens to a gracious and deserving artist like Sheila Cowley. Heræfull-length drama premiered in an Equity playhouse on May 26 in Upstate New York, earned inclusion in the Piccolo Spoleto Festival in Charleston and was part of new play festivals in Chicago and in Austin in May.æFlyingäó»s Tampa Bay full-production premiere featured the dazzling Becca McCoy as the lead, directed by Robin Gordon. The co-production spanned both sides of the bay atæTampa Repertory Theatreæin September andæThe Studio@620æin October.æCowleyäó»s research included poring over a number of oral histories and memoirs of women who flew military planes in WWII so men could go and fight. äóìTheir stories are not widely known but theyäó»re amazing,äó she said. äóìThese were all brave women working hard, flying back and forth with target flags so men could practice shooting airplanes from the ground, dive-bombing pilots in training so they could learn how to dogfight, working as test pilots before and after planes were repaired because no one wanted to risk a male pilotäó»s life doing that, and getting broken-down planes off the ground on their last flight to the scrapyard.äó
The fabulously collaborative Hive Courtyard of muralists, musicians and more:æ The festive Oct. 15 premiere collaboration took place in tandem with the SHINE mural festival and featured local/regional muralists pulling out all the stops. The event offered the best of both worlds of artistic professionalism and DIY spunk, along with local music, food and retail vendors. If you were feeling the gentrification blues, the Hive event reminded about the magic that sparked St. Pete back to life.ææCam Parker — who recently received publicity creating the Lady Gaga mural in Tampa and getting kudos onstage from the pop diva — went all out and transformed his mural completely in the span of a week.æVan Der Lucæsurprised the crowd with a giant cryogenic bee. Jennifer Kosharek offered “Interesting dichotomies,” andæAndrew SpearäóÖs dragon seemed to come to life.æ Other memorable works includedæBekky Beukes‘ entrance-wall-encompassing phoenix woman andææJennipher ChandleyäóÖs intricate portrait.
— Danny Olda,æ David Morris, Eva Avenue, Daniel Veintimilla and SK West contributed to this report.