The St. Petersburg Arts Alliance recognized five local "muses" who contribute to the St. Petersburg arts community at its fourth annual Muse Arts Awards.
The Muse Visual Arts Award went to Kyu Yamamoto, who grew up studying art in Nagoya, Japan. He moved his studio to St. Petersburg in 1992 and is known throughout the area for his public art at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital and the city's Fire Station No. 4. Yamamoto teaches drawing at Eckerd College.
Kathryn Howd was honored with the Muse Patron of the Arts award. She is on the city of St. Petersburg's Public Art Commission and the subcommittee for public art at the new police station. Howd is a board member at Florida CraftArt and a founding member of the SHINE St. Petersburg Mural Festival. She also volunteers regularly to help children see their creativity come to life in her beloved medium of clay.
Eric Davis, co-founder and artistic director of FreeFall Theatre, was recognized with the Muse Performance Arts Award. He is involved in every aspect of the theater including acting, direction, set design and costume design. Founded in 2008 and in its current home at 6099 Central Ave. since 2011, FreeFall has become a mainstay of live theater for patrons from both sides of the bay.
The Muse Literary Arts Award went to David Warner, who has been editor in chief of Creative Loafing since 2004. He has overseen arts coverage, written about theater, dance and visual art and spearheaded the multi-disciplinary arts events GASP! and Sensory Overload. Warner is a member of the Radio Theatre Project Live! acting company and has appeared in productions at Stageworks and Studio@620. He will soon be on stage with Gulfport Community Players.
Leon "Tes One" Bedored was recognized with the Muse Arts Ambassador Award. He is an artist, curator and founding member of the SHINE Mural Festival. Bedored is known for combining nature with technology.
"Murals are reflective of a city that takes pride in its community. Like all art, it is proof of life," he said. "I think the level of art and impact of murals in St. Pete are beginning to align, so there is a deeper appreciation for the work, and it can now coexist with the community rather than fall into stereotypes of either graffiti or advertising."
Guests at the event included Sylvia Runche, Ezra and Skiter Singer, Adam and Alison Curtis, Michelle Cohen, Laura and Matt Bryant and Betsy Englander.