SIGHT AND SOUND: YA LA'FORD AT CHIHULY COLLECTION
Ya La'ford's murals have become increasingly immersive, full-on installations. Give her a space and she will cover every square inch with mysterious linear or geometric patterns that make viewers feel as if they have entered either an ancient Mayan temple or an alien starship.
A new interactive work at the Chihuly Collection, 400 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg, will include her signature "labyrinths," enhanced with LED lighting and a sound component, which should further the sense of being in another dimension. Grounding it all will be recorded readings by Helen Pruitt Wallace, St. Petersburg's poet laureate.
La'ford has worked hard for her increasing prominence as an artist. She first attended law school, then switched gears to earn a master's degree in art. She's a college professor and, of course, a busy artist. You may have seen some of her previous work at the SHINE Mural Festival, the Dr. Carter Woodson Museum and the Dunedin Fine Art Center, to name a few.
Chihuly Collection executive director Andy Schlauch instituted the program of temporary exhibitions in a space created after remodeling several years ago. Other shows have featured glass artists to complement the stunning glass works by Dale Chihuly, probably the best known glass artist in the world.
So La'ford's Echoes: Universal Signals is a departure and a dramatic one. It is the final temporary exhibition at the gallery before it closes Aug. 1 to relocate to larger space on Central Avenue across the street from its owner, the Morean Arts Center.
A free opening reception is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday. The main galleries housing the Chihuly Collection will be closed during the event. Regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $14.95, $10.95 students and free for kids younger than 5. (727) 822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.
THE MOREAN: TWO VENUES, TWO SHOWS
There are actually three Moreans: the Morean Arts Center, Morean Center for Clay and the Chihuly Collection. I'm highlighting the last separately, but there is also a lot going on at the other Moreans.
The Morean Arts Center hosts the 98th annual Members Show, an eclectic mix packed with work by 200 of them. Probably any medium (except video) and style is represented by professional artists and gifted amateurs. The center, 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The show continues through Aug. 13. Free. (727) 822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.
The Morean Center for Clay is bidding farewell to recent artists-in-resience Haley Swanson and Eric Ordway with their first solo shows, which continue through July 31. Congratulations. The Center for Clay, 420 22nd St. S, St. Petersburg, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Free. (727) 822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.
IT'S HOT OUTSIDE: GO TO A GALLERY
Summer is the time Clayton Galleries owner Cathy Clayton highlights all the artists she represents and it's quite a stable of thoroughbreds. She has two summer shows, and this is the second one. The list is long but they're all so good, I wanted to include them all: David Adix, Donne Bitner, Natty Moss Bond, Peter Brown, Jeanne Cameron, Robin Cody, Dolores Coe, Lynn Davison,Virginia Derryberry, Benjamin Dimmitt, Billie Hightower, Cassandra James, Tim Kennedy, Lennie Kesl, Carl Knickerbocker, Jeffrey Kronsnoble, Peter Kuentzel, Karen Tucker Kuykendall, Lynn Manos, Bruce Marsh, Kate Norris, Yoko Nogami, George Pappas, Lucca Pizorno, Stacy Rosende, Claudia Ryan, Roberta Schofield, Laura, Waller, Joyce Ely-Walker and Kathy Wright. The gallery, 4105 S MacDill Ave., Tampa, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The show continues through Aug. 20. Free. (813) 831-3753. claytongalleries.net.