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Colorpalooza: A bright spot in downtown St. Petersburg

The Morean Arts Center's bright red exterior offers a peek of what's inside: a colorful splash of art and hands-on activities.

The St. Pete art hub looked to the rainbow for its newest show, Colorpalooza! It opened June 17 and runs all summer with events, workshops and ongoing exhibits at the Morean's four locations.

"We're the un-museum," said the center's executive director Katee Tulley. "We want people to get close to the art and have a good time."

Anyone looking for a free — and air-conditioned — way to spend a few hours might enjoy the offerings at the center's main gallery, 719 Central Ave. Inspired by its Dale Chiluly vibrant glass collection about a mile away, the center transformed the first floor into several mini exhibits, many of them interactive and all dripping in bright colors. It plays on the notion that Chiluly "never met a color he didn't like," Tully said.

Here's a smattering of what you'll see.

Art Lounge

Read a book on Picasso or brainstorm artsy ideas in the new art lounge with leather chairs, high-top tables and shelves of art-related books. The center had hoped to open an adjacent cafe in time for Colorpalooza! but now expects an August debut. In the meantime, visitors can lounge around and write haikus that include at least one color word. At the end of the summer, the center will award its favorite a $50 prize. Here's one so far: Green isn't easy … Recycling bags are heavy … Poor Kermit is weak. While there, also check out the mural on the center wall. It will change every season. This summer, it's a painting of fireworks against a nighttime city skyline by art students at Gibbs High.

Dolores Coe: Mirage

This Ruskin artist explores one of the most colorful places on earth — Las Vegas — in her series of mixed-media paintings titled Mirage. Dolores Coe combines painting and photography to recreate iconic images, from Caesar's Palace to the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Las Vegas Hotel. The 10 large pieces interpret driving into the city at night using color, light and movement. It runs through July 17. Neil Matthiessen takes over the space with his large color-inspired mixed-media installations July 22 to Aug. 21. Visitors will be able to add to his work using various art supplies.

Glass tickets

The center has hidden 100 glass tickets around downtown redeemable for two free admissions to the Chihuly Collection and Glass Studio & Hot Shop. The tickets are certificates enclosed in acrylic about the size of a postcard. For hints on where to find them, go to the Morean's Facebook page. They are valid through Dec. 24.

Make your own postcard

When an email to a faraway friend or family member just won't do, how about a custom postcard? The center provides the postcard, and you add the creativity using Sharpies, colored pencils, wallpaper swatches, glue sticks and other materials from the "art buffet.'' The center will even mail it for you.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Visitors can rewrite William Shakespeare — or at least try to — in freeFall Theatre's exhibit about its recent production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The exhibit has several costumes used in the play and a small stage area where guests can have fun interpreting characters. They can write their musings in a booklet and hang it on the wall.

Pride at Clay Day

As part of St. Pete Pride day, the Morean Arts Center for Clay will have artist demonstrations and behind‑the‑scene tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Free parade parking available next to the clay center, 420 22nd St. S, St. Pete. For more Colorpalooza! events and activities, go to

Colorpalooza: A bright spot in downtown St. Petersburg 06/23/11 [Last modified: Thursday, June 23, 2011 4:36pm]
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