Celebrating St. Pete’s Arts Community

By Tracy Kennard
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St. Petersburg Arts Alliance
Celebrates This City’s Artistic Muses

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March 3 at 7 pm
Morean Center for Clay
Details here

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For the past nine years, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance has been celebrating the diversity of arts and culture in St. Petersburg and paying tribute to the remarkable talent and variety you can discover around every corner of our amazing city. And each year, The MUSE Awards celebrate six outstanding artists and arts supporters.

No stiff tuxes, no boring speeches – it’s a pARTy to uniquely honor the creative individuals who spark St. Petersburg and a crucial fundraiser for the Arts Alliance’s work.  This is an evening to re-energize and renew our commitment to collaborating all year long to make St. Petersburg truly a City of the Arts.
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MUSE Visual Arts Award
– Catherine Woods

 Catherine Woods is a nationally recognized artist known for her large-scale architectural glass and metal installations. She is the principal of C Glass Studio LLC, which has been creating artwork for the public sector since 2002.

Just installed last year, Catherine’s large-scale Sunrunner transit stop artwork stretches from St. Pete’s downtown to the beach – adding colorful artwork for public transit patrons that’s inspired by the community surrounding each stop.

Catherine’s work can be found all over the United States, from St. Pete to Reno, Nevada. Her public art projects include gateway signature sculptures, suspended artworks, in-ground artworks and temporary projects, each of which takes into consideration the personality of the community and honors the architecture of the site. You can see her work in St. Pete at All Children’s Hospital and the new St. Pete Police headquarters.

Catherine’s work has been featured in national publications such as Sculpture Review and Public Art Review, as well as local publications, Tampa Bay Magazine, St. Pete Life and the Tampa Bay Times. She has been recognized by Americans for the Arts’ prestigious public art competition, Year in Review.

“Surprised and delighted! Having recently installed the SunRunner art glass panels, it is wonderful to be honored at this time. Looking forward to the MUSE party, and sharing the love with my fellow award winners!”
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MUSE Literary Arts Award
– Maggie Duffy

Maggie Duffy is the arts and music reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, covering museum and gallery exhibitions, theater performances and the occasional concert.  A lifelong arts enthusiast, she has a bachelor’s degree in art history from the University of South Florida. She previously worked in the local art scene as a gallery manager and curator.

“Covering the arts in our vibrant community is a dream career. I feel so fortunate to live in a city that supports creativity.”
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MUSE Performance Arts Award
– Alexander Jones and projectALCHEMY

Alexander Jones, founder and executive artistic director of the downtown St. Pete international nonprofit dance company projectALCHEMY, is a graduate of University of South Florida and earned his MFA at Hollins University studying dance.

Jones received training from the LINES Ballet BFA Program under direction of Marina Hotchkiss. He has worked with Alonzo King, Bill T. Jones in Serenade/The Proposition, and Doug Varone in The Rite of Spring. He has performed in Tunisia with the University of South Florida on behalf of the American Embassy and the Tunisian Dance Federation.
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A native Floridian, Jones is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association and current performer in Walt Disney World stage shows. He is an alumnus of ArchCore40 in NYC and works closely with NY choreographer Jennifer Archibald as her choreographer assistant in the Florida Dance Festival. Jones is on faculty as an adjunct professor at the University of Tampa teaching techniques classes that help students prepare for both concert and commercial stages.

Community and collaboration are at the forefront of Jones’s dance works with the company, as well as in and around St. Pete. He serves as the Dance Artists in Residence at The Studio@620, assisting in dance programming alongside Bob Devin Jones.

“This is such an honor. Thank you St. Petersburg Arts Alliance and our awesome community support in St Pete”
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 MUSE Art & Technology Award
– Mikhail Mansion

Mikhail Mansion is an interdisciplinary artist, technologist, entrepreneur and educator ­­– using technology to translate the hidden forces and phenomena embedded in the world around us into poetic expressions that invite discovery and play.

His work seeks to mix digital and physical forms in order to provide interactive shared experiences that connect people to nature and to each other. His creative work has been exhibited at the de Young Museum, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, V&A Museum, Renwick Gallery, deCordova, Ringling Museum, Miraikan – National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, Biomuseo, LEXUS INTERSECT-TOKYO, Pyongyang Winter Olympics, Currents New Media Festival, Ars Electronica and Meow Wolf.

Mikhail serves as the Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Fairgrounds St. Pete, an immersive art and technology museum that features works by over 60 Florida-based artists. He is also a co-organizer of OK! Transmit, a free and open art and technology meetup, that brings together the art, science and technology communities to share innovative ideas through talks, presentations, workshops, exhibits and performances.
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His passion for art and technology shines through in his work as an educator as well. He is an adjunct professor at Ringling College of Art & Design and the University of Tampa.

“I’m deeply honored to be awarded this year’s Muse Award for Art + Technology by St. Petersburg Arts Alliance. I’m always amazed at the level of support this area extends to the creative community – it’s rewarding to know that my contributions are too becoming part of that legacy. Especially proud of my team, and those artists making Fairgrounds St. Pete a leading art and technology destination, and at The Factory St. Pete, The Dalí Museum and also those building Crab Devil over in Tampa (respect). The sky is the limit for Tampa Bay when it comes to art + tech + innovation!”
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MUSE Arts Ambassador Award
– Katie Deits/Florida CraftArt

Katie Deits is an accomplished professional with a background in art, public relations, marketing and organizational leadership. She is the Chief Executive Officer at Florida CraftArt and a Certified Fundraising Executive.

Florida CraftArt aims to grow the statewide creative economy by engaging the community and advancing Florida’s fine craft artists and their work. In her seven years as the CEO, she has utilized her creative, fundraising and nonprofit management skills to grow Florida CraftArt’s impact.

In addition to her current role, Katie has a wealth of experience in the photography industry. She served as the President of Camera Graphics for 25 years, where she led the largest photographic and graphic arts studio in Palm Beach County. Specializing in commercial, architectural and aerial photography, Camera Graphics worked with major corporations and industries.

Katie is a practicing artists and has also taught photography at Palm Beach State College, Barry University, and the Society of the Four Arts. She advances the community through her membership in a variety of organizations, including the International Association of Art Critics.

“I was totally SURPRISED and THRILLED to be selected for the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance MUSE award for Arts Ambassador. St. Pete is a great arts destination and I am SO HAPPY to be part of it as the CEO of Florida CraftArt! Many thanks for the honor.”
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MUSE Patron of the Arts Award
– Belinda Dumont

“It was Irene Rubenstein, who funded the concerts in the park along with Helen Torres, who introduced me to the Florida Orchestra and their projects. For a year or two I went to all three venues and heard all three concerts to raise funds.

“A long time ago, 17 years to be exact, I auditioned for Mark Sforzini to sing in his newly formed St. Pete Opera, and to my joy, he hired me, and I’ve been there ever since, eventually on his board. I am the retired Director Emeritus of the company.

“And there are the visual arts. Long a supporter of the visual arts, I’ve been on the board of the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Pete for a number of years. It is a joy and a privilege to work with artists and curators almost daily. How could we live without museums and exhibits to go to? We have them here and we love our artists. Singing, playing, designing, creating, dancing – we are them and they are the soul of this great city.

“My business career began in publishing. I worked for Condé Nast in the ’60s and ’70s, publisher of Vogue and Glamour and House & Garden. From there I went to Wall Street in investment banking, where I had a 20-year career. And yes, I went to or sang in the opera during that time whenever I could.

“Most recently, June 2022, I appeared as Duchess of Krakenthorp for St. Pete Opera in La Fille de Regiment, a cameo role, and will do some choral singing in the next production, which will be Beethoven’s only opera, Fidelio. Yes, here in St. Pete, at the Palladium. Now that’s why we support the Arts!

“The main thing about St. Pete is the people, and the Arts. They have always been of the utmost importance to me, and they are all in themselves so very worthy of support.

“With love to all my fellow musicians, painters, clay artists, singers and dancers, creative artists of every stripe, every kid with paper and a crayon, I am Belinda Dumont.”
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