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ONCE IN A BLUE MOON // "33 DAYS'

The Tarpon Springs building where Dorothy and Dennis Brown opened their Blue Moon Gallery in November is half of what remains of a turn-of-the-20th-century theater.

"Everything in it was old, old, old," Ms. Brown said. Despite renovations, much of the historic detail remains, including tin ceiling tiles, original wood floors and a broad skylight that offers wonderfully diffused light for the gallery's contents.

What's new is the art. Currently, that's the "33 Days" exhibit, Brown's brainchild for creating a Blue Moon buzz.

"We challenged artists to produce new pieces within 33 days, for an exhibit to run 33 days," Ms. Brown said. "We wanted fresh pieces and to promote fresh faces."

Why 33 days?

"I just like the number 33," she said with a laugh.

The number appears to have been lucky.

"We were overwhelmed by the response," she said.

In all, 11 artists, mostly from the Tarpon Springs and Dunedin areas, produced almost 50 pieces. The exhibit includes photography, etchings and engravings, oil paintings, sculpture, glass and metal.

All modern. All fresh, as in new. And many seriously fresh, as in cheeky.

Take Lin Carte's new selection from her ongoing Serene Woman Series. Tapestry of Days weaves etchings, engravings, watercolors, gold leaf and digigraphs (original art composed on computer) into a wall-sized drapery of women trying to distill tranquility from the madness of modern living.

An example is Woman Hoovering, the British colloquialism for vacuuming.

"A quote I heard goes something like this. "Serene women never become unfocused,' " said Carte of Tarpon Springs. "If that's true, then every moment would share the same serenity, whether you were making love or vacuuming. But if you've ever vacuumed, you know it's the exact opposite of serenity and being in the moment, which is what we're all trying to achieve."

And even though creating a finished piece of art in 33 days wouldn't seem to promote Zenlike tranquility, Carte said she was enthusiastic when Brown asked her to participate.

"That works for me, literally," she said with a laugh. Having a deadline "gets my juices flowing."

Fellow Tarpon Springs artist Robyn Hillary agreed.

"Artists can get kind of lazy," she said. "It's good to have a deadline, something to work toward."

With a background in design and architecture that includes homes, condominiums and golf courses, it's a wonder the broad space at Blue Moon Gallery can contain even Hillary's work in metal, wood, glass, and, well, trash.

"I find stuff, and people give me stuff, and I make something out of it all," said Hillary. "Practically everything on display here (at the "33 Days" exhibit) is recycled something or other."

One exception is the ink-on-mylar sketch Superceded, hanging on the wall.

"It's my rant on modern architecture," Hillary said. "It's all one beige, stucco-based bomb with zero lot lines, no sense of the environment, no sense of Florida and no sense of who we are as individuals."

Brown, a noted photographer whose images hang in private and corporate collections and have appeared in many group and juried shows, takes a gentler approach. But she's not afraid to get down and dirty to produce pieces like Neonglow. To shoot images of rain-slicked cobblestones, she sprawled on a wet street.

Other artists showing in the eclectic "33 Days" include Mitch Kolbe, oil paintings; David Smalley, sculpture; Jack Roseman, Steve Corrado and Robin Saenger, glass and metal; and Catherine Bergmann, Rocky Bridges and Denis Gaston, mixed media assemblages.

"It's quite an interesting mix of artists and media," Ms. Brown said. "And they each have a lot to say."

If you go

WHAT: "33 Days" art exhibit

WHERE: Blue Moon Gallery, 204 E Tarpon Ave., Tarpon Springs

WHEN: Through March 8

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday

Up next:OLE MISS

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