Summer is officially here and, man, it’s hot. Luckily there are plenty of places around Tampa Bay where you can stay cool while taking in stunning visual art. And you won’t have to break the bank: All of these shows are free to attend. Take advantage of being able to see work of this caliber for free — including three museum shows.
Here’s a list of 16 shows, just a sampling of all the free art currently happening in Tampa Bay.
Emerging Artist Exhibition: The county’s arts agency chooses artists each year to receive the Emerging Artist Grant, then show the work they created with it in this exhibition. This year’s recipients were Troy Bernardo, Jenipher Chandley, Marie Cummings, Kathryn Cummins, Dennis DeBon, Kimberly Engel, Patrick Arthur Jackson, Aimee Jones, Amy Wolf and Agueda Zabisky. On view through July 16. 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. Noon-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 727-582-2172. creativepinellas.org.
USF Contemporary Art Museum
Rico Gatson: Visible Time: Brooklyn-based artist Rico Gatson layers themes of history and identity through sculpture, painting, video and public art projects. In addition to colorful works on paper featuring important African Americans, he created a site-specific mural of Zora Neale Hurston at the museum. Don’t skip the fascinating videos he makes by mashing up different movies and sounds. And be prepared for the emotional journey he took through Emmett Till’s last moments and the events that followed. Runs through July 29. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 1-4 p.m. Saturday. Closed July 3-4. 3821 USF Holly Drive, Tampa. 813-974-2849. usfcam.usf.edu.
Florida Museum of Photographic Art
The 2023 International Photography Competition: The show is on display at Tampa International Airport as the museum waits to open its new space in Ybor City. The response to the competition was overwhelming, with thousands of submissions from 542 photographers in 57 countries. But the overall competition winner is Riverview artist Angelika Kollin’s “Everyday St. Lucy.“ Works from Kollin and the other winners in a variety of categories are on display in the gallery space at the airport’s second-floor ticketing area. On view through Aug. 18. 4100 George J Bean Parkway, Tampa. fmopa.org.
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Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art
Material Mastery: Florida CraftArt Permanent Collection of Fine Craft: The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art in Tarpon Springs partnered with St. Petersburg organization Florida CraftArt to showcase their permanent collection, which “recognizes the significance of Florida’s fine craft art in our broad artistic landscape, documents the rich tradition of craft art statewide and beyond, and educates and inspires future generations of artists.” Objects from Leepa-Rattner’s permanent collection are also on display to complement the show. On view through Aug. 27. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. 600 E Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs. 727-712-5762. leeparattner.org.
Morean Arts Center
The downtown St. Petersburg center is opening a trio of exhibitions on Saturday, July 8. Psychedelic: 2023 Members Show will showcase imaginative, groovy works in a variety of mediums through Aug. 24. In Donna M. Richardson: Spiritual Influences, Richardson describes her work as “Indie Pop Art“ and is distinguished by her appreciation of artistic techniques of Native American, African and Indigenous people. Through Aug. 24. Greg Matthews: A Landscape Revisited showcases Matthews’ landscapes, which have evolved from three-dimensional landscapes in the tradition of the Hudson River School to simplified gestural forms. Through July 29. The opening reception happens from 5-8 p.m. Saturday, July 8. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.
CMND/CTRL: This group show at the gallery located in The Factory St. Pete includes more than 20 artists from across the country. Locals include Libbi Ponce, Kate Cummins and LeRoy King of Art. The gallery is known for showing interesting conceptual art and this show is no different. On view through Aug. 4. Noon-3 p.m. Wednesday-Thursday, 3-6 p.m. Friday-Saturday. All other times by appointment. 2622 Fairfield Ave. S, Building 7, Studio A, St. Petersburg. heiressgallery.com.
Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College
In the Eye of the Mind: The Fantastic Realities of Steven Kenny: Take a day trip to this Lakeland museum for the exhibition of Kenny’s work from the past two decades. Kenny used to live in St. Petersburg but has since moved, so it’s great to see his work in the area again. Kenny combines the skill of the Old World Masters with a surrealist sensibility, resulting in fantastical, richly hued paintings. On view through Aug. 6. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday. 800 E Palmetto St., Lakeland. 863-688-7743. polkmuseumofart.org.
Dunedin Fine Art Center
Fiber art is the theme for the summer at this Dunedin center, which is showing four fabric shows concurrently. Hannah O’Hare Bennett: Recede: Bennett honors the natural world through her organic mixed media weavings, collages and/or sculptures. Regina Durante Jestrow: Free Form Connections: Jestrow explores the connections between women’s history, American quilt-making traditions and geometric design. Kat Howard: Controlled Telling: Howard’s work explores gender and gender roles, sexism and oppression. Stitched & Dyed showcases contemporary artists innovating techniques in dyeing, stitching and embroidery, including whose works incorporate innovative dye, stitchery and embroidery techniques. Artists include: Susan Lumsden, Meg Pierce, Babs Reingold and Marianne Wysocki. On view through Aug. 13. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 pm. Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Sunday. 1143 Michigan Blvd., Dunedin. 727-298-3322. dfac.org.
Cool Art Show
Cool Art Show: A St. Petersburg tradition, the 34th annual show gives the vibe of an outdoor art show in the sweet air conditioning of the historic venue. More than 60 artists will be showing their works in a variety of mediums and a number of accessible price points. Artist demonstrations, children’s activities and the popular scribble wall make the weekend fun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, July 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, July 23. 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. pava-artists.org/cool-art-show.
Clearwater Main Library
Clyde Butcher’s Cuba and El Arte: Echoes of Cuba: Master of landscape photography Clyde Butcher returns to the Clearwater Main Library with “CUBA: The Natural Beauty – The Photographic Expeditions of Clyde Butcher.” A complementary exhibition “El Arte: Echoes of Cuba” highlights key Cuba-related works by eight local Suncoast area artists showcasing Cuban and Cuban American themes and subjects. Select works from both exhibitions have been enlarged and are on display at the new Coachman Park. On view through Oct. 31. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday. 100 N Osceola Ave., Clearwater. downtownclearwater.com/cubaexhibits.