A unique art exhibition deserves a unique gallery space.
On Friday, Tempus Projects gallery and event space in Seminole Heights will open its first T-Shirt Show. The exhibition started with an open call for artists to submit designs suitable for silkscreening, and in the end 10 artists contributed one or two designs each.
Most are local, including Tempus Projects creative director Tracy Midulla Reller.
"It is the most lighthearted exhibition that we've done so far. It's perfect for the end of the season," said Reller, 36.
For the show, there will be two hangings of each design: one traditional print and one T-shirt. Silkscreeners from Ink Tank printing will be on hand to produce made-to-order T-shirts from the designs.
"It's a cheap, accessible way to get your art out there," said Ink Tank owner Sam Beer. As for the benefit to patrons, Beer said, "You get a piece of artwork, but you can also wear it out … instead of it just ending up on a wall."
Although Reller acknowledges the appeal of inexpensive, wearable art in a down economy, she said the trend was not a factor in deciding to organize the T-Shirt Show.
"I'm not terribly concerned with what's big as art right now," she said. "While I take what I do seriously, I think that it should be fun and interesting."
The custom-printed shirts will be available in sizes small, medium and large for $14. There will also be posters of the designs for $10 to $12.
The artists and Ink Tank will split the proceeds 50-50.
So what's in it for Reller?
"It's a creative outlet. Because I'm an artist, and because I'm an art professor, I get frustrated with the lack of venues and opportunities for the artists that I see growing in the community and also the professional artists in the community," said Reller, who teaches design foundations and print-making at Hillsborough Community College. "So an alternative-space venue is something that I've always tried to maintain."
She expects the T-Shirt Show to attract lots of art students, since colleges are between spring and summer semesters.
Open since January, Tempus Projects is housed in a 20‑by-50-foot converted garage behind Ink Tank. Reller runs the space with artists Ashley Niven and Lisa Harasiuk, and the women purposely named it Tempus Projects rather than Tempus Gallery.
"It's not a proper gallery. There's no beautiful flooring," Reller said of the unpolished concrete under her feet. "We don't have gallery contracts with our artists. We don't hold regular gallery hours."
Reller hopes to host film and performing arts events at Tempus Projects in the near future.