Networking: Visibility

Ybor City, Counter Culture, Artists, The 80's, David Audte, Bud Lee, Photography
Paul Wilborn’s new book, Cigar City,  fictionalizes  Ybor in the 80’s.

Saint Petersburg Art Scene is the New Ybor

My love affair with old Ybor started as a child when my family’s “Big Outing” was a visit to the Silver Ring Sandwich Shop for two “Specials” which my Mom, Dad and Sister happily shared on Bayshore or at University of Tampa’s Plant Park by the river. We didn’t have much money, but we had more love than money could buy and the absolute best sandwhiches anywhere on the planet.

As Ybor grew seedier and I turned 18, I was drawn to the secret art scene and delicious darkness of the forbidden streets. What I found was a core of artists and writers who worked, lived and played very hard in a non-gentrified glory of architecture and Cuban/Italian history. The drinking age had just been lowered to 18 and the music scene was thriving. Somehow, I stayed out of serious trouble but gained many stories including all the ways my friends and I were able to get into the Artist and Writers balls without paying at the door.

Paul Wilborn’s new book, even though fictionalized, brings back many memories sparked by the incredible photos of David Audet and Bud Lee. It was a magical time. It shaped me and gave my art structure.


Ybor City, Counter Culture, Artists, The 80's, David Audte, Bud Lee, Photography, St. Petersburg Arts
Paul Wilborn reads from his new book at Mirror Lake Library


Ybor City, Counter Culture, Artists, The 80's, David Audte, Bud Lee, Photography, St. Petersburg Arts
David Audet discusses his photographs in Wilborn’s book Cigar City


Pinellas is Teeming with Talent, Art and Opportunity to Make Aesthetic History

Within blocks of my Gulfport cottage, I can visit more excellent artists than I have fingers to count. At the Creative Pinellas meetup this week hosted by Gulfport’s Golden Dinosaur, I met several new movers and shakers from artists and writers to those who produce shows and events. These meetups are so important to local artists; we meet others who can affect our own work through collaboration and the creative spark of their muses.

Art meet up, Akiko Kotani, Golden Dinasaur, Gulfport FL, Creative Pinellas
Akiko Kotani with Babs Reingold


Visibility is key in our community

Art lovers love our company. Let’s face it, we live charmed lives. That’s not to say our lives are easy, but those who have chosen to balance their lives in a different way want to be around our energy. My doctors spend an equal amount of time asking about my current projects as they do checking my health. It’s important to share our creative wealth!

I try to attend many community events whether or not they are cultural. Political and business events provide windows for new thoughts which can yield timely ideas and content. Much art (especially writing) requires a solitary environment. It’s good to get out, see the world outside the studio.

Notorious RGB, Planned Parenthood, Tampa Bay Choice Affair, Irin Carmon
Celebration of the Notorious RGB


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