LANCE RODGERS: NEW DIRECTIONSLance Rodgers exhibits a lot, but it has been too long since we've seen a show of his works in our parts. Rodgers is admired by collectors for his beautifully rendered realist paintings that often have some social or political message usually delivered with a bit of humor or irony. He has also been quietly going in a new direction through the years, working with abstraction, and will exhibit these paintings Thursday at Staybridge Suites during Art Night. Nathan Beard of ARTicles Art Gallery, which organizes an Art Night in partnership with the hotel every three months, is curating Rodgers' work for the event. Beard wrote: "He will be presenting a body of abstract work he has largely kept hidden. We are going to treat this exhibition as a sort of breakout for the series and I think it will be a strong statement about the artist's need to constantly challenge himself."Rodgers writes in an artist's statement: "I do not plan on suddenly giving up the aforementioned realism that I am known for. I love it and will continue. But, like an actor who strives to excel at comedy as well as drama, I intend to do both. … Balance, I guess." I say hurray for Lance, whom I have known and liked for several decades. Art Night at Staybridge Suites, 940 Fifth Ave. S, St. Petersburg, is free, with light appetizers and beverages provided by the hotel from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Rodgers' paintings will continue to be shown in the public spaces through mid February. (727) 898-6061.BROADER HORIZONS: CULTURAL ROUTESRachel Stewart and Judith Salmon have occasionally exhibited together since the 1980s, and their work comes together in "Cultural Routes: Continuing the Journey," an aesthetic journey of sorts and a visual dialogue between the two artists who work in a range of media. Their first such show in 2006 was also at the [email protected], 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Common ground is their cultural relationship with the United States and Jamaica. As you probably know, the Studio is a multitasking venue that hosts every kind of cultural activity imaginable with many overlaps in its schedule. Thus, it posts no regular hours but is open by appointment. Staff is frequently there during business hours, so call to ask. The show continues through Dec. 3. (727) 895-6620. studio620.org.NEW AT TECO GALLERY: MAGGIE NEWMANPaintings such as those by Maggie Newman at the TECO Public Art Gallery are sometimes described as "muscular" for their heavily painted surfaces. Perhaps a more neutral adjective would be better: How about "textured"? Fifteen of her works are on view at the gallery, 702 N Franklin St., Tampa, through Jan. 4. Mark your calendars for a talk and tour on Dec. 8 from 6 to 8 p.m. Gallery hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Free. STUDIO 1212: HOLIDAY SHOWFounded in 1970, Studio 1212 is the oldest artist cooperative in our region and limited to 30 members. Its founding ones were former students of the great painter William Pachner. The group has always had a heart-warming mission and guiding principle: "Sharing instead of competing."To that end, they offer an open-to-all critique that is supportive and collaborative. They also offer workshops on different media and techniques.The annual holiday show and boutique offers fine art and gift items such as jewelry, ceramics and decorations. A portion of the profits is donated to a community cause. Last year, local school art programs were the beneficiary, for example. The event opens Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. at the studio, 1405 Cleveland St., Clearwater. Free. (727) 999-1524. studio1212.net.