FESTIVAL BETH-EL: SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
It's 43 this year but never feels old. Art Festival Beth-El, Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Temple Beth-El, keeps things lively with an infusion of new artists, some avant-garde by festival standards, along with a lineup of returning favorites. Other features include space dedicated to an outdoor sculpture garden, a selection of limited-edition signed prints from Syd Entel Galleries in Safety Harbor and the Avenue of Shops with lighter (more affordable) art, jewelry and crafts. (One of my favorite Christmas gifts ever came from the event, an adorable little evening handbag from a friend.) Like most festivals, it has a feel-good component with art created by students from Pinellas County public and private high schools and scholarships for winning schools.
It's big, with 170 fine artists, but has an intimate feel. The fine art is inside and other features are set up throughout the outdoor footprint, mostly covered. Docents will be on hand to answer questions. You will also eat well with a cocktail reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday ($25), light lunches and snacks Sunday and a reservations-required luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Monday ($20).
The festival is free from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and Monday. 400 Pasadena Ave. S, St. Petersburg. (727) 347-6136. artfestivalbethel.com.
IN GULFPORT: TWO DAYS OF 2COOL ART
You have probably already discovered the charms of downtown Gulfport. Think of it as a smaller version of downtown St. Petersburg — shops, restaurants and a waterfront. Saturday and Sunday, more art will make a temporary stop at the 2Cool Art Show. In its fourth year, it's the winter snowbird to summer's Cool Art Show in St. Petersburg. The Professional Association of Visual Artists organizes it and invites winners of other shows such as Gasparilla and Mainsail to participate along with a lineup of juried artists. The venue, the historic Gulfport Casino, 5500 Shore Blvd., is small and can accommodate only about 40 artists but its size guarantees you'll be able to see everything without viewer fatigue. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Free. pava-artists.org.
COOL, TOO: DEREK GORES AT EPICUREAN HOTEL
My colleague Times food critic Laura Reiley tells me the Epicurean Hotel, 1207 S Howard Ave. in Tampa, has a cool vibe that will be cooler beginning Wednesday, when Derek Gores' terrific collages will be on view.
You may remember him from "Leave a Message," a group show at the Morean Arts Center in conjunction with Shine, the St. Petersburg Mural Festival. He uses paper and digital materials such as scraps of magazine pages and labels to form an image. Up close the work looks like a random arrangement but back up and it resolves into a beautiful picture. The most interesting thing about his use of materials is that they all relate in some way to a particular work. I'm not the only one who appreciates him — he's in a lot of important corporate and celebrity collections.
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The show opens with a reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $25, which includes wine, beer and hors d'oeuvres. The ticket price will be applied to any art purchase. Gores will demonstrate his process and answer questions during the event.
The show is organized by CASS, a Tampa art and design gallery, and continues through April. For tickets, go to epicureanhotel.com.