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A guide to Tampa Bay art events this weekend

Free Museum Day is here, plus there’s a new show at Mize Gallery and Creative Pinellas showcases emerging artists.
Tampa Museum of Art features this work and others on display as part of the exhibition "Purvis Young: 91." [Courtesy of  Philip LaDeau]
Tampa Museum of Art features this work and others on display as part of the exhibition "Purvis Young: 91." [Courtesy of Philip LaDeau]
Published Sep. 18, 2019


It would be great to frequent Tampa Bay’s cultural institutions on a regular basis, but that can get expensive. Enter Free Museum Day on Saturday. There are actually two free museum days happening at the same time and they’re a little different. There’s a national Free Museum Day inspired by Smithsonian magazine’s event. Venues throughout the country participate, but you must get a ticket at And St. Petersburg has its own Free Museum Day without a ticket requirement. The Dalí Museum is offering free entry to Pinellas County residents, but others who buy admission will receive a voucher to come back. Find a complete list at

RELATED: Fall Arts Preview: From Basquiat to augmented reality, what’s coming to Tampa Bay museums


Two remarkable things about Florida: iconic neon signs and retro beach motels. They’re the muses of artists Todd Bates and Selina Roman, whose two-person show “Pretty Vacant” is on at Mize Gallery. Bates travels America photographing old neon signs from roadsides. He views them as aging relics and preserves them by transforming them into reimagined photographs and silk screened gig posters. Roman focuses on mid-century motels with her photographic series, Please Disturb. She sets up surreal scenes full of saturated colors amid faded tropical linens. She sees the places as metaphor for aging beauty, dark pasts, secrets and transformation. Hear from them during the artists’ talk on Sunday. Free. 3-5 p.m. 689 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. St. N, St. Petersburg.

"Delirium," a screenprint by Todd Bates, is included in the "Pretty Vacant" exhibition at St. Petersburg's Mize Gallery. [Courtesy of Chad Mize]


Creative Pinellas gave grants to 10 emerging artists this year to focus on their work, culminating in the Emerging Artist Exhibit at the organization’s gallery. If you stop by this weekend you can view art in a variety of media by Anna Ayres, Christina Bertsos, George Retkes, Javier T. Dones, Jim Gigurtsis, Laura Spencer, Linda Costa Cheranichit and Sondra Elder. Visit the botanical gardens next to the gallery to experience beauty in many forms. Free. Noon-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo.


  1. Photographer Griff Davis captured the first meeting of Vice President Richard Nixon and Martin Luther King, Jr. and their wives, Patricia Nixon and Coretta Scott King, on Independence Day in Accra, Ghana on March 7, 1957. [Courtesy of Griffith J. Davis Photographs & Archives]
    A famed photographer captured Martin Luther King Jr. and Nixon in a conversation that was incendiary at the time.
  2. Roberto Gomez, of Puerto Rico, dressed as Darth Vader, attends the world premiere of "Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker" on Dec. 16, 2019, in Los Angeles. [CHRIS PIZZELLO  |  Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]
    The massive fandom was built on the strength of a universe that continues to expand beyond the movie theater.
  3. A photograph by Anastasia Samoylova from the "FloodZone" series, on view at USF Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa through March 7. [Courtesy of USF Contemporary Art Museum]
    Plus, check out site-specific installations from the Morean Center for Clay.
  4. Demetri Martin will perform at Tampa Theatre on Jan. 18. [Courtesy of the Tampa Theatre]
    'A Midsummer Night’s Dream,’ ‘The Screwtape Letters’ and ambitious Florida Orchestra collaborations round out the list.
  5. Ai Weiwei's "Zodiac (2018) Lego" is on display through Feb. 9 at the Ringling Museum. [Courtesy of the Ringling]
    Ai Weiwei’s ‘ Zodiac (2018) Lego’ is the big draw, but four other exhibitions each hold their own.
  6. Janna Doughty's "Friends" is included in "Please Stand By," which will open on Jan. 10 at Mize Gallery in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of Chad Mize]
    Plus, a quartet of new openings and an artist’s talk with contemporary Chinese artist Sun Xun.
  7. A crowd watches Tibetan Buddhist monks from India's Drepung Gomang Monastery dissolve their sand mandala during the Sacred Art Tour at Florida CraftArt in St. Petersburg in 2018. [LUIS SANTANA  |  Times (2018)]
    Plus, ‘Halloween in January’ features work by the Peach Moon and there’s an outdoor photography exhibit in Sarasota.
  8. Audio of the artist reciting a poem plays while visitors explore the Yayoi Kusama: Love is Calling exhibition in the Tampa Museum of Art on September 26, 2018. [Times 2018]
    With new museums, world class exhibitions, arts districts and an abundance of murals, Tampa Bay has grown into an arts destination.
  9. Helen Hardin's "Mimbres Kokopelli" is part of the "Spirit Lines: Helen Hardin Etchings" exhibit at the James Museum in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of the James Museum]
    Plus, St. Petersburg gets a politically-charged ceramic exhibition and dystopian sculptures invade Ybor City.
  10. Four rare Frank Lloyd Wright dining chairs from his famous Willits house have been acquired by the Two Red Roses Foundation and will be on display when the Museum of the American Arts and Craft Movement opens in St. Petersburg. [Courtesy of the Two Red Roses Foundation]
    The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement acquired the chairs through an auction.