TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER: GOLDEN STANDARD
Almost every person I asked recently replied affirmatively to reading Little Golden Books as children and then, if applicable, reading them to their children. Since 1942, the series has been a beloved staple of children's literature with more than two billion reportedly sold. Its first books were 25 cents; today they're still inexpensive, most selling for a few dollars.
Memory lane beckons you to the Tampa Bay History Center for "Golden Legacy: Original Art from 65 Years of Golden Books," an exhibition of 60 original illustrations from some of them. (If you're doing the math, the books are 74 years old; the show doesn't include more recent illustrations, so that's where the "65 years" comes from.) Included is art from The Poky Little Puppy, the all-time bestselling hardcover children's book in English, which was one of the first published in the series.
Well-known contributors through the years included Margaret Wise Brown and Richard Scarry as well as names less familiar outside the industry such as Gustaf Tenggren who, before his long tenure as an illustrator for Little Golden Books, was chief illustrator for Walt Disney. He illustrated The Poky Little Puppy.
The show opens Saturday at the center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa, and continues through Aug. 14. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is $12.95; $10.95 seniors, youths 13 to 17 and students with ID; $7.95 kids 4 to 12. (813) 228-0097. tampabayhistorycenter.org.
TECO PUBLIC ART GALLERY: YA LA'FORD
Ya La'ford has an amazing resume. She has a law degree and a master's degree in art, is a college professor and also is a busy practicing artist. She also has a strong social conscience, so much of her work has a community tie-in. One of her most visible recent projects is a mural she painted in the tunnel next to Ferg's Sports Bar for St. Petersburg's SHINE Mural Festival in 2015. Her work is often full of patterns and grids that spill over entire walls.
"The Loudest Line: Imaginary Boundaries" is a show at TECO Gallery of new paintings, and in them, she seems more interested in containment within the canvases though they're anything but static. The gallery is located in the TECO building's atrium at 702 N Franklin St., Tampa. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Free. Join the artist at the gallery for a free talk and tour 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday. (813) 767-1600.
RINGLING COLLEGE: WATERCOLOR ABOUNDS
Have you ever tried watercolor painting? I have and the results were, well, all wet. It's a delicate medium that's best done quickly. (I'm generalizing here: There are examples of a muscular approach.) You'll see many different styles of watercolor painting at the Florida Suncoast Watercolor Society's juried exhibition at the Ringling College of Art and Design's Smith Gallery.
Note that this is not the John and Mable Ringling Museum. The Ringling College is an independent, highly respected art school, also in Sarasota. The circus magnate gave the school permission to use his famous name back in the 1920s, but that's the only affiliation. The college is at 2363 Old Bradenton Road, Sarasota. The gallery is on the ground floor of the Academic Center building. Go soon; the exhibition ends June 10. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Free. (941) 359-7563. ringling.edu/galleries.