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11 places in Tampa Bay to see art for free right now

New spaces and long-standing ones are on the list.
 
A detail of an installation of prints and a chandelier by Kendra Frorup in the "Strength of Character" exhibition at Creative Pinellas in Largo through April 28, 2024.
A detail of an installation of prints and a chandelier by Kendra Frorup in the "Strength of Character" exhibition at Creative Pinellas in Largo through April 28, 2024. [ SANDRASONIK | Courtesy of Creative Pinellas ]
Published March 23|Updated March 23

Spring is here, bringing a fresh crop of new art shows and a handful of new places to see them — all for free.

Reverb is a new gallery at Kress Contemporary that showcases work by students in the masters of fine arts program at the University of South Florida. It’s so new there aren’t regular hours yet, but it will be open on April 18 from 4-9 p.m. during the free Ybor Art Tour, which is a great time to see even more exciting art.

St. Petersburg’s Second Saturday ArtWalk offers another opportunity to see new work.

Here are nearly 10 other spots to see art this season — no admission required.

Sixstar Art Studio

An exciting new addition to St. Petersburg’s Warehouse Arts District, this studio led by artist Jason Hackenwerth has spaces for six studios, with four of them currently filled. Located in the back of Behar + Peteranecz Architecture’s cool hangar-shaped building, with high ceilings and movable walls, the ambience gives New York City loft vibes. Each artist’s work is rousing and totally different, making the experience rich. See Hackenwerth’s latest series of large-scale, vibrant paintings. Kenny Jensen’s space feels like Old Florida with light-dappled “Lost Focus” oil paintings of the state’s forests and his small sculptures derived from nature. One of Michelle Gordon’s thickly layered abstract oil paintings is inspired by a sunset viewed at the beach, when the sky is hued like cotton candy. John Monteiro’s works on scratchboard with stippling that creates dimension are seriously impressive. Two guest artists’ works are on display: Noelle Mason’s cyanotype series “Ecstasy of the Vision Machines” are sublime visions of goddesses, saints and angels based on X-rays of works of art; and Elizabeth Barenis’ “Natural Beauty” series of paintings puts familiar Florida plant life in a contemporary light. The grand opening celebration is April 12 from 5-9 p.m. 2430 Terminal Drive S., St. Petersburg. Follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Drew Marc Gallery

The Drew Marc Gallery is opening a new exhibition, "Ultramodern Heartbeat" at the Factory St. Pete on March 9, 2024.
The Drew Marc Gallery is opening a new exhibition, "Ultramodern Heartbeat" at the Factory St. Pete on March 9, 2024. [ Courtesy of the Drew Marc Gallery ]

This newer contemporary gallery at The Factory St. Pete is now showing the work of prolific local artist Ya La’ford, whose black-on-black geometric meditations on space and distance dazzle. La’ford and four other nationally recognized artists premiered at the gallery with “Ultramodern Heartbeat.” Andrea Dasha Reich is the pioneer of resin paintings with dripped pigments; Bojitt’s bold canvases combine abstraction with elements of street art; James Koskinas’ intense portraits radiate from the walls; and Julie Schumer’s abstract paintings are explorations of her own emotional landscapes. The gallery changes displays for the Second Saturday ArtWalk. 2606 Fairfield Ave. S., St. Petersburg. drewmarcgallery.com.

OXH Gallery

Located in the Kress Contemporary building in Ybor City, this gallery was established by Tampa newcomer Odeta Xheka, who introduces the community to local, national and international artists with an aim to create a cultural hub for Tampa. The current exhibition, “The Eternal Passage (an end, a beginning),” is a solo show by Tampa-based fine art and documentary photographer Angelika Kollin. In celebration of Women’s History Month, the exhibit showcases Kollin’s portraits that “explore the symbiotic relationship between women and the natural world.” The works are powerful and do contain nudity — it’s tasteful, but just a heads up. An artist talk with Kollin happens on May 2. 1624 E. Seventh Ave., Tampa. oxhgallery.com.

The Gallery at Creative Pinellas

Creative Pinellas refers to its exhibition “Strength of Character” as an “environment” — which is spot on. It is curated by Katherine Gibson, who has a knack for pairing artists whose works complement each other. This show has maximum impact, with large-scale paintings and works on paper by Edgar Sanchez Cumbas, wood sculptures by Kathleen and David Bly (together as Jib Projects) and Kendra Frorup’s site-specific installations and assembled objects. Frorup’s collages of print and used wood-framed screen-printing screens climb up walls, accented by the glass chandeliers inspired by apples and bananas she created. Nearby, Cumbas’ abstract paintings sing from the walls while Jib Projects’ sculptures hit multiple senses for their aromatic (cedar) and tactile qualities. It’s an overall warm experience, an embrace of color and texture. Remains on view through April 28. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday. 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. 727-582-2172. creativepinellas.org.

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Mirella Cimato Gallery

"Oceanside Yellow" by Angela Warren is on display in "Oceans of Flowers" at the Mirella Cimato Gallery in St. Petersburg.
"Oceanside Yellow" by Angela Warren is on display in "Oceans of Flowers" at the Mirella Cimato Gallery in St. Petersburg. [ Courtesy of Angela Warren ]

This gallery headquartered at the St. Petersburg Opera Company’s Opera Central building rotates exhibitions by local and regional artists. On now is “Oceans of Flowers” by Angela Warren, who grew up in Maine but lives in St. Petersburg now. She paints abstracts inspired by nature, from the woods and seaside views of Maine to the nature and waters of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean. She also teaches painting. 1-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 13. 2133 First Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

Woodfield Fine Art

Mark Mitchell's painting "The BurgHive" is on display in his solo exhibition, "True Colors," at Woodfield Fine Art in St. Petersburg through April 13.
Mark Mitchell's painting "The BurgHive" is on display in his solo exhibition, "True Colors," at Woodfield Fine Art in St. Petersburg through April 13. [ Courtesy of Mark Mitchell ]

This gallery in St. Pete’s Grand Central District represents local artists and selects one or a few to showcase in special exhibits. On now is “True Colors: The Conceptual Pop Art of Mark Mitchell.” The paintings are eye-popping for their vibrant color and sharp imagery, and the ones with ironic themes — like “Information Age,” which depicts a child with a barcode on its head — are witty without being sardonic. Mitchell makes several homages to St. Pete, like the hex-block-shaped “The BurgHive,” which features a guy with a beard, a stone crab claw, palm trees and spray paint cans. Pretty accurate. 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday, 5-9 p.m. Saturday, April 13. 2323 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-254-6981. woodfieldfineart.com.

Morean Arts Center

This work by Camilla Byrd is part "Fresh Squeezed 8: Emerging Artists in Florida"  at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg from April 13 to June 27.
This work by Camilla Byrd is part "Fresh Squeezed 8: Emerging Artists in Florida"  at the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg from April 13 to June 27. [ Courtesy of Camilla Byrd ]

“Fresh Squeezed 8: Emerging Artists in Florida” is a highly anticipated annual exhibition for which Morean Arts Center curator Amanda Cooper finds artists making compelling work. This year’s looks promising, with artists who live in Florida exploring themes of identity, varied cultural backgrounds and movements like Afrofuturism, with several artists rendering them in unadulterated color palettes. One example is Camilla Byrd’s large-scale yet intimate portraits of friends and family wearing and living in intricate patterns. It opens on Saturday, April 13, with a reception from 5-8 p.m. and runs through June 27. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. 719 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. 727-822-7872. moreanartscenter.org.

Soft Water Gallery

Exhibitions rotate frequently at this gallery at the ArtsXchange in St. Petersburg, which is run by gallery director Lisa Lippincott. On now is “Exterior, Interior,” featuring Dennis Angel’s metal point drawings of clouds, Anna Rac’s multilayered abstract expressionist paintings, Jeff Aeling’s sublimely quiet landscapes and John Hosford’s muted, surrealist view of Florida nature. It’s on view through April 6. Even when there isn’t a formal show on view, the gallery represents so many artists that there’s always much to see at a refreshing variety of price points and styles for every sensibility. Noon-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and by appointment. 515 22nd St. S., St. Petersburg. 727-318-3223. softwatergallery.com.

Syd Entel Galleries & Susan Benjamin Glass

Jurgen Gorg's "Blue Planet" is on display at Syd Entel Galleries & Susan Benjamin Glass in Safety Harbor from March 23 to April 20.
Jurgen Gorg's "Blue Planet" is on display at Syd Entel Galleries & Susan Benjamin Glass in Safety Harbor from March 23 to April 20. [ Courtesy of Syd Entel Galleries ]

Pairing artists working in different mediums is this Safety Harbor gallery’s specialty. Opening March 23, “Celebrating the Human Form” showcases Estella Fransbergen’s celebrations of the female form in glass and ceramics, along with Jurgen Gorg’s sensual paintings, etchings and lithographs of people with a focus on their body language. On view through April 20. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. 247 Main St., Safety Harbor. 727-725-1808. sydentelgalleries.com.

Michael Murphy Gallery

"Downtown Rhythm" by Elena Bond is on display in her solo exhibition, "New Impressionism," at the Michael Murphy Gallery in Tampa from April 6-27.
"Downtown Rhythm" by Elena Bond is on display in her solo exhibition, "New Impressionism," at the Michael Murphy Gallery in Tampa from April 6-27. [ Courtesy of Michael Murphy Gallery ]

“New Impressionism” is the title of the exhibition at this South Tampa gallery, opening April 6. It features the paintings of international artist Elena Bond, who is considered to have updated the impressionist movement by none other than Henri Matisse’s grandson, Pierre Henri Matisse. See for yourself and meet Bond on Friday, April 5, from 6-9 p.m. The show remains on view through April 27. 2701 S. MacDill Ave., Tampa. 813-902-1414. mmgart.com.