Great Expectations for 2018

Among the works featured in the new James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art will be Jason Rich's painting "A Western Heritage" (American, b. 1970. 2008, oil on canvas. 48X60).
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Matthew McGee will star in American Stage in the Park’s production of The Producers this summer. (Photo: Michael Cairns)

We asked artists and stakeholders in the Pinellas arts community about their big new projects, returning events and that new western museum opening up in downtown St. Pete.

Bernice Chu, Interim Executive Director of the James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art: “We are so looking forward to April and the opening of the museum. The collection of about 400 pieces − including oils, watercolors, stone and bronze sculptures − is the culmination of more than 50 years of passionate collecting by Tom and Mary James. It’s art that truly captures the windswept plains, the pioneering spirit and rich traditions of the American West. And in addition to multiple permanent collection galleries, there will be a Native American jewelry collection that is just stunning, a 140-seat theater, a two-story water-fall, a museum store and a café — and we’ve already started a waiting list for rentals of our event space … clearly there’s a pent up demand to hold functions in new and exciting surroundings. People won’t believe how this entire downtown block has been transformed!”

Lina Teixeira. Photo by Daniel Veintimilla

Lina Teixeira, gallery owner and president of the Clearwater Merchants Asssociation: “2018 is going to be a pivotal year. We’ve been in discussions with three arts non-profits, discussing the possibility to provide brick-and-mortar spaces and events involving artists of all skill levels and backgrounds.” (Editor’s note: Teixeira also plans to host events every month in her space, Galleria Teixeira. The first one of the new year will take place  on Jan. 26, when the Galleria presents “The Purge,” a silent auction/art party that calls on local artists to bring in the works taking up space in their studios to sell at a steep discount.  Friend and Tampa artist Jose Gomez worked with her on the idea and hosted a successful Purge in his studio earlier this month.)

Mark Aeling, artist and owner of  MGA Sculpture Studio: “MGA has several large-scale public art commissions in Tampa that will be completed this spring as well as a public art commission in Fort Lauderdale.  It’s shaping up to be a very busy year.”

Eric Davis, freeFall Artistic Director: “We are looking forward to being back in our permanent space with gratitude to all who made that happen, especially Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton.”

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Carter G. Woodson Museum. Photo by Rossie Newsom.

Terri Lipsey Scott, Executive Director of the Carter G. Woodson Museum “Right now we are looking forward to the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Candlelight Vigil Sunday at 4:30 p.m., our community forum ‘Reclaiming Our Youth’ Jan. 18 at 6:30 p.m. and ‘The Highwaymen’ exhibit remains on display through Jan. 19, and a new show featuring artist Eluster Richardson will open Jan. 23February 1 will kick off Black History Month at City Hall with the raising of the Dr. Carter G. Woodson Museum’s Flag and a host of intriguing events to include a documentary of Black Pioneers of the Sunshine State and Tampa Bay’s first Collard Green Festival.  The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum enthusiastically shares in the pride our community celebrates as an art and culture destination. We are especially pleased to exhibit the talents of little known African American artists whose works are rarely, if ever, shown in galleries. Further, we are excited to be a sanctuary of many art forms. From paying homage to local legends like the late great Buster Cooper to Tony Award winning artistic director Kenny Leon, acclaimed actress Angela Bassett, film producer Will Packer, and the Ambassador to Gambia Patricia Alsup to name but a few. The Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American History Museum takes pride in presenting and preserving African American art and culture.” 

Barbara Mazer Gross, Executive Director of The Studio@620: “In 2018 the Studio@620 is looking forward to launching new initiatives — a music series, two plays, outdoor Shakespeare in Fall 2018, and a yearlong charrette entitled ‘Art & Architecture’ kicking off June 2018 — as well as continuing to be a home for creative programming that is much beloved by the St. Petersburg community, such as Radio Theatre Project, Poetry Open Mic, maker markets and monthly art openings. There’s always something new at The Studio@620, where the answer is always YES.”

2017 SHINE mural by Hueman

John Collins, Executive Director of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance: “The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance is working on growing Second Saturday ArtWalk.  We will expand promotion about our new audio accessible mural tour and add more Shine murals to the virtual tour.  We hope to develop SHINE into an office within the Arts Alliance to ensure it’s wonderful growth and quality.  And finally we hope to establish an Arts Resource Center that will house our arts business seminars and fundraising assistance were we can help accelerate and incubate emerging arts festivals and organizations.”

Susana Weymouth, Executive Director of Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture & the Arts: TBBCA is looking forward to our 29th year of uniting businesses in support of arts and culture in our community. We have six new Board Directors joining us this year, and “Great Expectations” for their and our current Board and pARTners’ contributions to helping TBBCA continue to make an impact. We have planned interesting and informative experiences for our business pARTners and community to engage with artists and with our arts and cultural pARTners,  including support for the Warehouse Arts District, curated TBBCA Cultural Encounters, and TBBCA Chalk Walk with Et Cultura, where TBBCA commissioned chalk artists will provide free, fun, family friendly public art experience TBBCA Call to Artists is currently open to all artists living/working in the Tampa Bay area for the Gasparilla Music Festival poster contest. And TBBCA is offering over $15,000 in Charlie Hounchell Art Stars Scholarships to some of the most talented young high school artists and performers throughout Pinellas, Pasco, and Hillsborough Counties with our Call to Applicants underway. We definitely have “Great Expectations” for an exciting TBBCA 2018 Impact Awards Thursday, Oct. 18, where we will recognize very special honorees!  For those who would like more information on TBBCA, visit or contact

Maureen McDole, Executive Director of Keep St. Pete Lit: “We are looking forward to producing the 4th Annual SunLit Festival April 9-22. We are also looking forward to our Creative Writing Kids Summer Camp and expanding our LitSpace writing classes to include weekend workshops inspired by our Literary Salons. Also, we want to expand our programming for young adult and kids, including writing workshops and book clubs.” 

Jennifer Pearl, Director of Bazaar Art and Second Century Studios: This year the Bazaar Art Co-op is focusing on our Open Air Art Market at Mandalay Park on North Clearwater Beach every third Saturday of every month. We will be collaborating with Ruth Eckerd Hall and the Capitol Theater to bring art to the Downtown Clearwater District at the monthly Blast Friday.  Second Century Studios will be hosting monthly art exhibits featuring local artists and photographers. We’ve started a series of bi-monthly Nude Sessions which are open to artists of all levels. In February we are planning a plein air event in downtown Clearwater and will provide maps to the painters locations and an Artist Reception the following evening. We are kicking off a full calendar of monthly creative activities and workshops including Disk Jockey classes, poetry readings, Bazaar Art Throwdowns, lectures, plein air classes, mural classes and more. In addition, I am working with the city of Clearwater on several public art projects including a series of large-scale art installations at Coachman Park for the Sea Blues Festival, Bay 2 Beach and other yearly City events. Plans for a Bazaar Art event and community Crosswalk Mural will be taking place in mid-March for the city of New Port Richey.

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Donnelly by friend and frequent collaborator Sebastian Coolidge’s mural

Derek Donnelly, The COVE: We have a lot of exciting things coming up this year with my gallery, the Public Art Project and also looking forward to launching our new tour company. Coming up at the gallery we have solo and collaborative shows in the works. Our first art walk exhibition of the year will be Reid Jenkins with “Fuzzy Logic” exhibit Jan. 27Public Art Project Inc. is working with AMI kids located on Gandy Boulevard on a mural project. We anticipate this to be done within the first quarter of the year. Also working on new tour company focusing on mural tours, St Pete Cultural Tours.”

American Stage’s Producing Artistic Director Stephanie Gularte.

Stephanie Gularte, Producing Artistic Director at American Stage“In 2018, we are looking forward to a year of inspiring collaboration and unprecedented inclusion.  Specifically, American Stage’s co-production of the fascinating play Marjorie Prime with California’s Capital Stage, and our Young Americans Initiative, making it significantly easier for young people to make professional theater a regular part of their lives.” Adds Marketing and Communications Manager Roman Black: The theater will also produce  A Raisin in the Sun  (first installment of our American Legacy Series); Strait of Gibraltar (first play discovered through our 21st Century Voices: New Play Festival) and seriously smart comedy Bad Jews (a Tampa Bay area premiere). Plus: We are excited to bring The Producers to audiences out at Park in April 2018, starring Matthew McGee as Max Bialystock. I’m also looking forward to our new play festival.

Ken Hannon, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Dunedin Fine Art Center Personally I have great expectations for increased kindness and civility on everyone’s part in a love inspired year! DFAC Great Expectations for 2018 include our new Miniature Art and Big Eyes exhibits that Open Next Weekend:, I am truly expecting the biggest and possibly the best Trashy Treasures ever based on donations to date. We are moving forward with our Food Arts program, so will be featuring pop-up classes and other food related events throughout the year… yummy!  Wheels on Wheels is really taking off ….  Everyone should “take it for a spin!”

Ya La’Ford, artist: “See more.  Live more. Love more.  Thank you Creative Pinellas for supporting our vision.  Who we are and valuing our contribution to humanity. Happy New Year and all greatness to all eyes that meet these words.”  (Editor’s note: Her exhibit “Glyphs,” an interactive community-wide art project, can be viewed Jan. 12-20 at Florida CraftArt in St. Petersburg. Visitors to the show are invited to add their written or visual contribution to the installation at the gallery. Opening reception Jan. 13 during the Second Saturday Art Walk.)

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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.