1. Visual Arts

What's happening in Tampa Bay art: Akiko Kotani's solo exhibit, a pairing at Leslie Curran Gallery

In her studio, Akiko Kotani works on her more than 20-foot-long crocheted installation ‘Waterfalls of Milford Valley,’ which you can check out in Largo starting Thursday. [Courtesy of Akiko Kotani]
Published Jun. 5


Since Akiko Kotani moved to Tampa Bay several years ago, she has made a huge impression on the local art scene, with three solo exhibitions and two group shows. She was recently named Creative Pinellas' Artist Laureate, an honor that comes with solo exhibit "Unbound," opening Thursday. The exhibit is composed of two large-scale installations of crocheted plastic. The material is draped over two 8-foot walls in Soft Walls, exploring the notions of women's hand work, a point especially made through the use of garbage bags. With Waterfalls of Millford Valley, she uses the same material to create flowing forms that cascade from the ceiling and puddle on the floor, reminiscent of a New Zealand paradise she visited. Reception from 6-9 p.m., with a conversation with Kotani at 7 p.m. She'll lead a Lunch and Learn workshop on being a professional artist from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday ($5, $15 includes box lunch). On June 23, she will lead a PechaKucha 20x20 session, in which artists present 20 images of their work for 20 seconds. Remains on display through July 29. Gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday. 12211 Walsingham Road, Largo. (727) 582-3600.

FINE PAIRING: Knuckle Sandwich

The Leslie Curran Gallery always does a brilliant job pairing artists. It has happened again with "Knuckle Sandwich," putting Denis Gaston's textured drawings and paintings with Gabriel Ramos' energetic metal sculptures. Gaston's work is often colorful and would seem whimsical, except that you get the sense there is more going on than just the narrative. He's known to fill them with personal, hidden meanings. Ramos manages to create the sense of motion in steel wire sculptures that are evocative of a scribble. They're inspired by his childhood in Puerto Rico, also rich with personal details. See them for yourself and chat up the artists during the opening reception. Remains on display through July 13. Free. 6-9 p.m. Saturday. 1431 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 898-6061.

EARLY EXPOSURE: James Museum's Family Day

My lifelong appreciation of art began when my mom took me to the Art Institute in Chicago at 3. Early exposure to art can really shape a life, so grab your little ones and head to the James Museum's family day. Activities begin with the unveiling of a new mural in the Children's Studio by Shine mural festival artist Cecilia Lueza, who will discuss her colorful work. Next is a tour of the galleries to search for primary and secondary hues from the color wheel. Kids can create their own sun catchers and there is story time. Best for ages 3-10, although I'm sure teens and adults would be into the mural unveiling. Included with museum admission: $20, $15 students, seniors and military, $10 ages 7-18, 6 and younger free. 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday. 150 Central Ave., St. Petersburg. (727) 892-4200.


  1. "Ai Weiwei: Zodiac (2018) LEGO" will be on display at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota starting Nov. 16. Courtesy of Jason Schmidt
    Plus, Tampa Museum of Art presents “the Making of a Museum” and Karen Lamonte takes over the Imagine Museum.
  2. Jamie Randall and Mark Clarson have collaborated to make decanters based on extinct birds. Courtesy of Alec Miller Arts
    There’s ‘Sweater Weather’ at Mize and a lecture at the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, too.
  3. “'The Grasshopper and the Ant’ and Other Stories as Told by Jennifer Angus" installation, which is composed of 5,000 dried exotic insects, is on display at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg through Jan. 5, 2020. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Jennifer Angus’ installation, ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant,’ is her largest to date.
  4. An electrical box is seen directly across the street from John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg on Oct. 31. A mural by Shine mural festival artist iBoms was removed after parents' complaints. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The edgy work by Jabari Reed, a.k.a. iBoms, was installed near John Hopkins Middle School.
  5. Leslie Peebles is the featured artist at Dunedin's Art Harvest on Saturday and Sunday. Courtesy of the Junior League Clearwater-Dunedin
    Plus, Babette Herschberger’s deceptively simple surface studies bring color to the Leslie Curran Gallery in St. Petersburg.
  6. A cyclist heads east on the Pinellas Trail in St. Petersburg on Monday. With a grant from NOAA, mural artists Blaine Fontana and Jeremy Nichols, both of Portland, Ore., are creating a mural for the Shine Mural Festival on the exterior of Bama Sea Products that features Florida sea creatures. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The St. Petersburg mural festival ends with a daytime party on Saturday.
  7. Work continues on the Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, seen here in August 2019. The museum was scheduled to open in December, but now the date has been pushed back again to early spring of 2020.
    The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement was originally slated to open in 2017. That has changed many times.
  8. Muralists Blaine Fontana and Jeremy Nichols, both of Portland, OR., are creating this piece for the Shine Mural Festival that features Florida sea creatures with a grant from NOAA. SCOTT KEELER  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Plus, you can take a ride through the Terror Tent at the Pinellas Art Villages’ Spookfest.
  9. Art collector Stanton Storer talks about "Unbound," the exhibit of his art collection at the University of Tampa's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    A new exhibition at the University of Tampa includes works from his extensive collection of renowned artists and locals.
  10. Chad Mize, left, and Jay Hoff in front of the "Pride and Love" mural they completed with LGBTQ youth this month as part of St. Petersburg mural fest Shine. Courtesy of Annie West Ellzey
    Shine is loaded with a wide range of events this year, including a street party at the Morean Arts Center.