Some artists can be a little cagey, but the collection on display at Tampa's Toasted Pheasant Bistro can also be a little gamey: All the artwork in the exhibition was created by animals at the Lowry Park Zoo.
The restaurant is hosting an African-themed wine dinner Thursday and an open house Saturday where guests can view the artwork and make a bid on it in a silent auction.
A picture of the artist is on display alongside each painting. The elephant wields a mean brush with his trunk. The penguins are the most prolific, walking through paint and then across canvas. And the orangutans are known for using their hands like a kindergartener, but also their lips or other body parts as the muse strikes them.
"They all seem to have their own kind of creativity," said Toasted Pheasant general manager Jim Poynter, who was given the idea by a frequent guest who works as a docent at the zoo.
Thursday's dinner, which starts at 7, opens the exhibit. For $55, guests will sip South African wines paired with five courses including lamb tangine and congo chicken soup. The zoo will take 10 percent of the proceeds Thursday and from the bar receipts at the open house Saturday. The reception Saturday, from 1 to 9 p.m., is free.
Each piece of art comes with a picture of the artist to ensure it remains a conversation starter for the owner.
The restaurant is at 14445 N Dale Mabry Highway in Tampa. Call (813) 265-6700 for reservations.
Sharon Kennedy Wynne, Times staff writer