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Galleries open

We hear so much about businesses closing these days that an opening is cause to celebrate, especially when it's art-related. Three galleries recently opened, two in St. Petersburg and one in Tampa.

Confident Gallery, 695 Central Ave., and M. Petty Photography, 538 Central Ave., have joined about a dozen other galleries in St. Petersburg's downtown arts corridor loosely bracketed by Florida Craftsmen and the Arts Center. Ludner Confident shows his own colorful paintings along with a large inventory of work by other artists. Mark Petty's inaugural show features his large-format prints, but other photographers will also be showcased down the road. (Petty is, incidentally, the husband of St. Petersburg Times executive vice president Marty Petty.)

The Beaker Gallery opens Friday as a vanguard of the proposed Cultural Arts District in Tampa. "Beached/Not Stranded" is the inaugural show, with an impressive lineup of artists both local and national, including Leslie Lerner, recently part of a Tampa Museum of Art exhibition, whose My Life in France: Lost Boy, Bags of Dragon Teeth is shown above. An opening reception at the gallery, 401 N Ashley Drive, one block southeast of the Tampa Museum of Art, is Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. For information, call (813) 221-6876.

For information and hours of operation at Confident Gallery, call (727) 502-5233; For M. Petty Photography, call (727) 898-2600.

_ LENNIE BENNETT, Times art critic