Exhibits at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art generally feature works of 20th century artists.
But when director Lynn Whitelaw was offered the opportunity to host the Florida Artists Group's 58th annual show, he decided that it was important to focus on current artists this year, when people seem to be more concerned about the economy than the arts.
"More than ever this year, people need to know that despite the economy people are still creative," Whitelaw said. "This is important to our community."
The nonprofit Florida Artists Group, also known as FLAG, was formed in 1949 by a group of artists to "stimulate the attainment of the highest standards of creative art within the state of Florida," according to a statement from the group.
Since 1949, FLAG has held a symposium and an exhibit by members each year in a different Florida city. This year, the group chose the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, which is on the campus of St. Petersburg College. The exhibition started May 3 and will run through July 19.
The show features the work of 87 Florida artists, and also paintings by the nationally renowned Sam Gilliam, who juried the exhibit. Three of Gilliam's works are on display.
Pieces include watercolors, acrylic and oil paintings, sculpture, photography, colored pencil works, ceramics and mixed media.
"Some of the works are very traditional and some are cutting edge," Whitelaw said. "There's really something for everyone."
Awards were given to nine pieces, with Best of Show awarded to Robert York, of Dade City. His acrylic painting POD is a brightly colored, abstract piece.
York, 72, has been involved with the group for more than 15 years, but this was his first Best of Show award.
"It was exciting for me to be judged by my peers, especially the nationally renowned Sam Gilliam," York said. "This is a great group of artists to work with."
Whitelaw encourages people to come out to the museum on Sundays, when admission is free and docent tours are offered.
"The arts can have an effect on you," he said, "even if you don't know a lot about them."