Art weekends don’t come much more chilled out than this. This week’s suggestions offer a laid back experience in St. Pete. How about adding some nice weather and perhaps two nights in a boutique hotel for a semi-staycation? Tonight we’re getting generous with a meal at the MFA, followed by a weekend art festival and gallery talk.
This week’s picks have some finely tuned themes that should serve up intriguing exhibits. We’ll be checking out shows built around the alphabet, golf, and a fourth grader. Double-knot your shoelaces and fill the canteen – you won’t want to miss any of these.
Check out the calendar on ARTICULATE here
The Pinellas arts scene can’t easily be pinned down – we’re a pretty diverse bunch. For the well-rounded arts lover that you are, this is likely a point of pride. This week we’re getting even more rounded, as our picks range from the hell-raising to the heartwarming.
Check out the calendar here on ARTICULATE
For all the vulgar excess and catering to the 1%, art love can be relatively friendly for the cash strapped (though being cash strapped in itself isn’t all that friendly). Gallery receptions and exhibit openings are generally classy yet free affairs – something that can’t exactly be said regarding film or music. The museum visits may require prying the wallet open. If well-timed, however, you can stroll several local museums with your wallet pleasantly tucked away. With that said, here is a quick museum guide for the frugal art nerd.
Tampa Museum of Art – every Friday evening – This is the first program I learned about and perhaps my favorite. Every Friday TMoA presents Art on the House – free admission between 4pm and 8pm. I should give a mention to Hill Ward Henderson for making the program possible.
Museum of Fine Art St. Petersburg – first Saturday and Sunday of each month…sort of – I should start by saying that this deal also applies to the MFA as well as the TMoA and the Florida Holocaust Museum (which has respectable art exhibits of its own from time to time). You can get free admission to the museums on the first Saturday and Sunday of each month by presenting your Bank of America debit or credit card (or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card) and a photo ID. If the Saturday or Sunday falls on the last day of the month, the deal will apply the following weekend.
Ringling Museum of Art – every Monday – $25! That’s how much you don’t have to pay if you visit the Ringling on a monday. This includes free admission to their permanent collection as well as the special exhibition galleries which currently houses Sanford Biggers’ new installation. Call in sick to work, bring two dollars for the Skyway, and how about some falafel for lunch – sounds like a rad Monday.
Polk Museum of Art – every Saturday morning – Not to be left out is the runt of the museum bunch. You can save your five bucks if you stop by on Saturdays from 10am to noon. Interestingly, local favorites Theo Wujcik and Krik Ke Wang will be exhibiting at the PMoA in a couple of months.
I’m obligated to mention that visiting the museums at these times is free of charge but not free of cost to the museum. I’m sure any of these venues would appreciate a donation if you find yourself less poor than usual. Regardless, whether you plan on making your way to a gallery or museum, it can be done on the cheap. Being sans-cash shouldn’t be an obstacle to enjoying art in and around the Bay.
Perhaps, it was the closest I’ve come to foraging. I don’t make it to the USF campus as often as I’d like. I was lost looking for the USF Centre Gallery, ready to give up, and about to set up camp for the night at the bus stop in front of the Sun Dome. However, USF is once again impelling me to make the trip and I intend to brave it. This time we’re heading to the USF Contemporary Art Museum.
USF CAM – Sand in the Vacuum – MFA 2012 Graduation Exhibition Fri 3/30 7pm-9pm
This Friday USF CAM and the USF School of Art and Art History will be introducing the 2012 graduating MFA artists through a group exhibit. I see that reluctant look on your face (that’s right, I can see you through your webcam). You’re worried this could be a show of almost-artists. You can be at ease, though – this isn’t like your elementary school graduation exhibit. Rather, these MFA graduates are (or should be) artists in their own right and some already have rather impressive and long CV’s. For example one of the exhibitors, Biff Bolen, brings some of the most exciting painting locally with past work being featured in New American Painting‘s MFA issue. Also, look out for work from Cynthia Mason and Serhat Tanyolaçar among others.
You can expect the exhibition to be an interesting and engaging one. Other than churning out degrees and massive student loan debt, MFA programs also allow artists to experiment without being hampered by saleability concerns. The MFA 2012 Graduation Exhibition will likely include style and mediums we encounter less often, particularly from area artists. I strongly suggest attending, enjoying the work, and attempting to convince the artists to stick around the Bay area and help out with the cause.
RINGLING COLLEGE AUDITORIUM – “SPEAKING OF MY WORK” TALK BY SANFORD BIGGERS FRI 3/30 3:30PM FREE ADMISSION
The artist Sanford Biggers will be giving a free and public talk this Friday afternoon. Biggers creates beautiful, politically and culturally aware installations. Biggers’ talk coincides with a new installation opening the same day at the Ringling Museum and being the 2010 recipient of the Greenfield Prize at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. I know it’s a bit of a drive for many of you, but the installation/talk combo should make the ride worth it. You know you’re going to stop by the Ellenton Outlet Mall on the way anyway.
Seriously, warm up your skinnies. It’s finally cold. Stuff them in the dryer for a few minutes, slip them on, and head to St. Pete. I’m using these last couple weeks of December to get caught up with some of our area museums. Apparently Festivus has just about every other usual arts destination doing something better than entertaining me.
I’ll admit, when thinking of St. Pete’s Museum of Fine Arts compared to the Tampa Museum of Art I think of Carlton and Will Smith respectively. While this may be completely accurate architecturally, this isn’t entirely fair when it comes to exhibits (as a side note: does that make the Dali Museum Hilary?). The museum has made recent steps to relieve me of that comparison, particularly with the recent acquisition of a new director. That being said, even if you aren’t into this current exhibit, when in St. Pete don’t spend all of your love on the glass blowers. Save some for Carlton.
Running through April 29, 2012 at the MFA is Ancient Egypt—Art and Magic: Treasures from the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art/Geneva. This exhibit features 101 pieces of various Egyptian antiquities. The ancient work is imported from a private collection and guest curated by Dr. Robert Steven Bianchi. It seems like Dr. Bianchi has done a good job of emphasizing these objects in a way that makes the overall collection an art exhibit rather than a historical one.
The MFA website appeared to be down so I’m not clear on holiday hours. You should at least be safe heading over on Friday from 10am – 5pm and possibly on Saturday 12pm-5pm.