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Creative Pinellas Emerging Artists to be introduced at reception

Bill DeYoung



Work by Rachel Ratcliff, one of the 2022 Creative Pinellas Emerging Artists.

Every year, Creative Pinellas puts together a committee to choose 10 individuals for special recognition, including a cash grant, a gallery show and help from a mentor who knows the ins, the outs and the in-betweens of becoming a creative professional.

The Emerging Artists program was launched in 2016 and “is a continued investment in the future of arts and culture in Pinellas County,” says the support organization’s CEO Barbara St. Clair.

All of the 2022 grantees – along with new work – will be at the Creative Pinellas Gallery Thursday (6 to 8 p.m.) for an opening reception.

The artists for 2022:

From Margherita Tabaldo’s “Home Series.”

Margherita Tibaldo. This Italian-born Dunedin resident paints with oils and acrylics, and her colorful, impressionistic works include Home Series, a study of everyday life perspectives during the cabin fever days of the pandemic, and a vibrant collection of female nudes. According to Creative Pinellas: “Inspired by contemporary artists such as Jenna Gribbon, Sarah McEneany, and David Hockney, Margherita’s work explores the relationship between reality and fiction, in the context of her daily life as a young woman in the 21st century.”

Adam and Kayte Bush have created Dimple’s Days, a series of stories and illustrations for preschoolers. This husband-and-wide team (he’s an artist, she’s an author) are the parents of three young children. According to the introduction on their website, “Dimple embodies a gentle and warm nature. The little monster is completely unique, just like all monsters that live in the secret sunny woods. Of course this gives Dimple and crew an entirely different take on kindness and inclusivity.”

Work by Heather Rippert.

Heather Rippert is a Clearwater watercolorist. “Growing up an only child, I discovered a place of beauty, acceptance and imagination through creating art,” she writes on her website. “What I create may change over the years and expand with more experience and knowledge, but the way I feel when I create, remains the same. It’s a walk into the ether, every time.”

Sketzii (Ketsy Ruiz) is a painter, digital illustrator and muralist. “As a second generation Puerto Rican growing up in the United States, across multiple oceans, languages and cultures, I’ve learned to appreciate the details that remind us of the spaces we call ‘home’ and people we consider ‘family.’ Although a lot of my work is inspired by Latin culture and identity, I paint in hopes that it can transcend across all cultures.”

Dorian Angello spent two decades as an award-winning designer and esteemed design educator, teaching at Delaware College of Art+Design, USF St. Pete and the Ringling College of Art+Design. Through paint, photography collage and assemblage, “Dorian creates intensely personal visual narratives that nonetheless invite viewers to embark on their own cognitive journeys, enriched by suggestive juxtapositions of imagery and artifacts.”

Alef Kaufman, who’s been the lead designer at MGA Sculpture Studios for six years, and has been heavily involved in the fabrication of several of the studio’s high-profile metal sculptures. One of his latest experimental designs, a six-foot LED kaleidoscope titled “The Flora-Da-Scope,” is installed at the Fairgrounds immersive art experience.

Ashley Rivers is a mixed-media and sculpture artist Her ongoing Bodies Collection, Rivers says, “is a contemporary revision of Classical female nude sculptures. For centuries, when woman’s bodies were sculpted, they were overtly sexualized and portrayed with idealized features for men to desire. My Objective with this series has been to disrupt the concept of the male gaze by taking back the objectification of the female body.”

Jon Ditty

Jon Ditty, whose real name is Jon Didier, is a hip hop songwriter, musician and performing artist living in Dunedin. He has released three albums, and is the founder of Off The Dome, a freestyle hip-hop open mic (formerly known as the Dunedin Lyricist Society), every Wednesday night at the club called Blur in downtown Dunedin.

Rachel Ratcliff, from Clearwater, uses acrylics to paint impressions of the natural world, which has fascinated her since childhood. She says: “I want to bring that feeling into one’s home on a canvas … that they are standing in their home but at the same time on top of a mountain or peering through the filtered colors of the sun in the crest of an ocean wave. To remind them of, and connect them to the priceless earth around us. To show what we should be protecting, and what we stand to lose.”

Work by Teresa Mandala.

Teresa Mandala works mostly in porcelain “but enjoys exploring new materials including wood, metal, glass, watercolor, acrylic, and oil paints to find unconventional ways to express complex concepts” (according to her online artist statement). “My creative work includes graphic design, painting, sculpture, and ceramics. I believe in a cross-disciplinary approach to art; one discipline always informs and elevates the work in another.”

In March, Creative Pinellas awarded Professional Artist Grants to Courtney Elvira, Sarah Emery, Roxanne Fay, Jason Hackenwerth, Shannon Halvorsen, Tamia Iman Kennedy, Eileen Marquez, Rachel Stewart, Frederick Woods and Artist Laureate Jake-Ann Jones.

Details about the April 14 Emerging Artist reception are here.



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