As the St. Pete Pride Festival approaches, local artist and gallerist Chad Mize is featuring a new exhibition with the work of LGBTQ artists.
"Pride and Joy" opens Friday and runs through July 1 at the Mize Gallery and features 25 artists, including locals and others from Miami, Orlando and New Jersey.
The gallery, which opened in March, also will be hosting its official opening. From 2010-15, Mize owned Blue Lucy in downtown St. Pete, where he showed more than 450 artists through 30 group exhibitions. During that time, he had another art show for Pride featuring all LGBTQ artists, called "Vision."
When planning "Pride and Joy," Mize, who is gay, thought about the level of mainstream acceptance the LGBTQ community has achieved. So instead of giving artists a specific theme, he asked them to convey freedom.
"I just asked that the work be colorful and positive," Mize said. "The exhibition is a celebration of being free and being who we want to be."
The finished works include fiber art, an installation of origami cranes and 100 portraits done in pencil on shrinkable plastic by Katie Niewodowski. Parents should consider that some of the artwork contains nudity.
Mize will have some of his own pieces in the show, including a sign that says, "Come in, You Don’t Look That Gay." The exhibit’s opening reception is from 7-11 p.m. on Friday.
Known for his design work throughout Tampa Bay, especially his iconic St. Pete "World Tour" T-shirts, Mize also will roll out new designs for Pride 2018. Among them are "Gay Means Happy and I Am," "Gold Star Gay" and "FemButch," done in the style of the logo for the clothing line Von Dutch. These will be available at the gallery, but he’ll also have a booth with the St. Pete Shirt Co. at the Pride Festival later this month.
"Pride and Joy" isn’t the only St. Pete art show in celebration of Pride. John Gascot, who has a piece in Mize’s exhibit, is opening two art shows on Central Avenue. "Pride Without Prejudice" is on display at the Cider Press Cafe and the Emerald Bar, with an opening reception from 6-9 p.m. on Saturday. It stays up through June 30.
The Morean Arts Center also will hold a Pride Pop Up in their gallery store from June 18 to July 18, with an opening reception from 1-3 p.m. June 24. And there will be an art display at the Pride Rooftop Disco party at the Station House from 12-7 p.m. June 23.
IF YOU GO:
‘Pride and Joy’
Opening reception: 7-11 p.m. Friday, June 8, Mize Gallery, 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N
For more: chadmize.com