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. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at Universal Studios Florida in the spring of 2020, the theme park has announced. AP (2015)
    The new show called the Bourne Stuntacular will debut at the Orlando theme park.
  4. Artist Jennifer Angus has created installations of exotic dried bugs for her exhibit "'The Grasshopper and the Ant' and Other Stories, as Told by Jennifer Angus" at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. Courtesy of Jennifer Angus
    ‘The Grasshopper and the Ant,’ an exhibition made with dried insects, also opens. Plus, a roundup of exhibits and wearable art on display.
  5. Sari (detail). Bangaluru, Karnataka ca. 1867. Silk and metal-wrapped thread. ©Victoria and Albert Museum, London Courtesy of the John and Mable Ringling Museum
    ‘The Fabric of India’ will appeal to both fashionistas and history buffs.
  6. Kierstyn Breaux pours some old fashioneds she helped craft as part of the PBR Whiskey launch event in Tampa on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. Daniel Figueroa IV
    From crafting cocktails with the spirit to designing the label, Tampa locals have been involved in launching the legendary brewery’s first spirit.
  7. Three of Nick Cave's Soundsuits. The artist will present a talk and lead a workshop in Tampa next week. Courtesy of Nick Cave
    Plus, new exhibits at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, Clyde Butcher’s Cuba and a new gallery in St. Petersburg.
  8. "Ordinary/Extraordinary: Assemblage in Three Parts," a trio of exhibitions at the Tampa Museum of Art, includes two master works from lauded artist Jean-Michel Basquiat at the Tampa Museum of Art. LUIS SANTANA  |  Times
    A powerful installation of works by artist Purvis Young and a showcase of Haitian Vodou flags correlate to Jean-Michel Basquiat’s two masterpieces. | Review
  9. Brooklyn-based artist AdamFu will paint two of his neon-inspired murals at Sparkman Wharf in Tampa, along with local artist Bask. Courtesy of AdamFu
    Florida CraftArt and Leslie Curran Gallery roll out new exhibitions, too.
  10. Visitor Sara Crigger of Nashville views the Dali masterwork painting "The Hallucinogenic Toreador" (1969-1970) this month with the aid of the Dali app on her smartphone. "Using this is like holding an art history class in your hand," Crigger said. The "Visual Magic: Masterworks in Augmented Reality" exhibit runs through Nov. 3 at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. SCOTT KEELER  |   Times
    With augmented reality, 19th century prints, bronzes and food photography, a well-rounded experience awaits.