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The year in Tampa Bay arts and what’s to come in 2022

This year saw a lot of growth in the local arts scene that continues through 2022.
The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, the first museum in the world dedicated to the Arts and Crafts movement, opened in St. Petersburg in September.
The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, the first museum in the world dedicated to the Arts and Crafts movement, opened in St. Petersburg in September. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Published Dec. 30, 2021

For a pandemic year, 2021 was fruitful for the arts in Tampa Bay, with new destinations, plans for expansions and the return of Broadway and concerts. 2022 looks equally bright. Here are a few highlights.

Visual art

The long-awaited Museum of the American Arts and Craft Movement opened in St. Petersburg in September. The stunning architecture and well-presented collection of the 137,000-square-foot, five-story museum was well worth the wait. Founded by collector Rudy Ciccarello, it is the first museum in the world dedicated to the Arts and Crafts movement. It showcases the handcrafted furniture, pottery, lighting, photography and paintings of the period from 1890 to 1930. Its gift shop is equally impressive.

Looking through the Poppy windows from the Winton House by designer George Washington Maher, at the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg.
Looking through the Poppy windows from the Winton House by designer George Washington Maher, at the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Related: Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement dazzles in St. Petersburg

Fairgrounds St. Pete, another anticipated arts attraction, opened at The Factory St. Pete in the Warehouse Arts District in September, but celebrated its new entrance and a mural by Chad Mize with a ribbon-cutting in December. Co-founded by Liz Dimmitt, the attraction was created by more than 64 artists with ties to Florida. The amount of imagination in the Florida-themed, art-meets-technology experience is a delight for kids and adults.

"CENTCOM," the spaceship shaped like a Twistee Treat, is in the Everglades Arena at Fairgrounds St. Pete.
"CENTCOM," the spaceship shaped like a Twistee Treat, is in the Everglades Arena at Fairgrounds St. Pete. [ ARIELLE BADER | Times ]
Related: Here's what to expect at new arts attraction Fairgrounds St. Pete

The Factory St. Pete, the arts destination compound also in the Warehouse Arts District, has grown over the year to include more artist studios. It’s also the new home of Daddy Kool Records and Sunshine State. Founded by Kara Behar, The Factory St. Pete has hosted events including December’s very well-attended St. Pete Winter Market that connected the Warehouse Arts District with Deuces Live along the Pinellas Trail and featured art, music and 150 vendors. Plans for more growth continue through 2022 and beyond.

At Daddy Kool Records’ new location at The Factory, Thursday, Dec.16, 2021 in St. Petersburg.
At Daddy Kool Records’ new location at The Factory, Thursday, Dec.16, 2021 in St. Petersburg. [ MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE | Times ]
Related: St. Pete Winter Market will join the city’s Warehouse Arts District with Deuces Live

In January, the Tampa Museum of Art announced plans for a renovation to expand its education programs and gallery space. Work started in June. In October, the museum announced plans for an expansion that includes a new wing for entertainment space and a refurbished outdoor to connect it to the Riverwalk. The new wing appears to reach out over the Hillsborough River, enhancing the museum’s presence. Work on the expansion is expected to begin in 2022.

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A rendering of the Tampa Museum of Art with the cantilever structure that suspends above the Hillsborough River.
A rendering of the Tampa Museum of Art with the cantilever structure that suspends above the Hillsborough River. [ Courtesy of Weiss/Manfredi ]
Related: Tampa Museum of Art announces renovation plans
Related: Tampa Museum of Art announces plans for expansion

In January, The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg welcomes another powerhouse exhibition, this time featuring the works of Pablo Picasso. “Picasso and the Allure of the South,” organized in collaboration with the Musée national Picasso-Paris, will explore the Spanish artist’s creative periods during his travels and in his studios in southern Europe, in the mountain towns of northern Spain and along the Mediterranean coast of France. It opens Jan. 29 and remains on view through May 22.

Picasso, Pablo. "Musicien," Mougins, 26 mai 1972, Huile sur toile. Musée national Picasso-Paris
Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979. MP229.
Picasso, Pablo. "Musicien," Mougins, 26 mai 1972, Huile sur toile. Musée national Picasso-Paris Dation Pablo Picasso, 1979. MP229. [ © 2021 Estate of Pablo Picasso / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York ]
Related: Picasso exhibit coming to The Dali Museum is St. Petersburg in January

Coming to Water Street Tampa Jan. 20- Feb. 20 is Tampa Fresh Foods, an entire grocery store made of felt artworks by acclaimed British artist Lucy Sparrow. Presented by the Vinik Family Foundation and Art Production Fund, the installation will be free to attend.

British artist Lucy Sparrow brings a felt grocery store environment, Tampa Fresh Foods, to Water Street Tampa in January 2022.
British artist Lucy Sparrow brings a felt grocery store environment, Tampa Fresh Foods, to Water Street Tampa in January 2022. [ LIV SMITH | Courtesy of @sewyoursoul ]
Related: Coming to Water Street Tampa: A grocery store made entirely of felt

The Peninsularium, an arts attraction from the artist collective Crab Devil, will open in Tampa in 2022. Made from an assemblage of shipping containers, it’s an artist-created, multimedia, immersive experience that celebrates Florida history and lore. Guests will enter through the Crab Devil Bait Shop and visit the Cabinet of Curiosities. It will also be the home of Tempus Projects’ gallery.

Theater

At long last, Broadway shows returned to Tampa’s David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in October with Tootsie. New COVID-19 policies were put in place, including having patrons show proof of vaccination or a negative test. In 2022, the beloved musicals Hamilton (Nov. 15- Dec. 11) and Dear Evan Hansen (Feb. 1-6) return to the Straz. Also, Judy Lisi, the center’s CEO and president, will retire in September.

Theatergoers show proof of a negative COVID test or a COVID vaccination card as they enter the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa.
Theatergoers show proof of a negative COVID test or a COVID vaccination card as they enter the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts in Tampa. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Related: Broadway returns to Tampa at The Straz with Tootsie
Related: Judy Lisi, CEO of Tampa's Straz Center, announces retirement.

Regional theater companies Stageworks, Jobsite Theater, Freefall Theatre and American Stage returned to in-theater performances. Jobsite’s Shockheaded Peter was a popular gothic cabaret that reprised its June run in November. Freefall’s The Rose and the Beast turned theater on its ear by presenting storytelling without live actors, employing set design and technology. American Stage welcomed new producing artistic director Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj, the first person of color to helm the theater company.

Colleen Cherry plays Harriet, the little girl who played with matches, in Jobsite Theater's production of "Shockheaded Peter."
Colleen Cherry plays Harriet, the little girl who played with matches, in Jobsite Theater's production of "Shockheaded Peter." [ JAMES ZAMBON | Courtesy of James Zambon ]
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj has been named American Stage's next producing artistic director.
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj has been named American Stage's next producing artistic director. [ Courtesy of American Stage ]
Related: Jobsite Theater's gothic cabaret 'Shockheaded Peter' delights in Tampa
Related: Freefall's 'The Rose and the Beast' is a unique theater experience in St. Petersburg

Music

The Florida Orchestra went back to full symphony performances at multiple venues in September, opening with Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, conducted by music director Michael Francis. To come in 2022 are Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay (Jan. 28-30) and Music of Star Wars, themes composed by John Williams (Feb. 25-27). The orchestra will also partner with Opera Tampa, the Straz’s resident company, to perform live during its 2022 season performances.

The Florida Orchestra's music director Michael Francis conducts a performance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg in October 2020 before a socially distant and limited capacity crowd. It was the orchestra's first live concert after the COVID-19 pandemic halted all performances for months.
The Florida Orchestra's music director Michael Francis conducts a performance at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg in October 2020 before a socially distant and limited capacity crowd. It was the orchestra's first live concert after the COVID-19 pandemic halted all performances for months. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Related: The Florida Orchestra announces its 2021-22 season

Concerts and festivals returned to venues throughout Tampa Bay this year, including the Gasparilla Music Festival in October, featuring Nas, Gov’t Mule and Sylvan Esso. The festival returns Feb. 25-27, with Black Pumas, The Revivalists and Trombone Shorty. The Rolling Stones at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium in October was one of the year’s standouts.

The Rolling Stones featuring Ronnie Wood, Steve Jordan, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards perform on stage during the No Filter tour at Raymond James Stadium in October 2021 in Tampa.
The Rolling Stones featuring Ronnie Wood, Steve Jordan, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards perform on stage during the No Filter tour at Raymond James Stadium in October 2021 in Tampa. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Related: In Tampa, the Rolling Stones have got what you need

This coming year sees Van Morrison at Clearwater’s Ruth Eckerd Hall (Feb. 14-15). Tampa’s Amalie Arena will host Eagles Hotel California (Feb. 28), Justin Bieber (April 9) and Elton John (April 24). Keith Urban (June 17) and Santana with Earth, Wind and Fire (Aug. 27) hit Tampa’s MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre. Coldplay makes a stop at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa on June 14.